Search just our sites by using our customised site search engine

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Click here to learn more about MyHeritage and get free genealogy resources

Joseph Howe
Chapter IX - Howe and Confederation

WHEN Dr. Tupper was in England in 1866 endeavouring, in common with other Canadian statesmen, to secure the passage of the British North America Act, and Howe, representing the anti-confederate party of Nova Scotia, was seeking to prevent its passage, the former -wrote and published a pamphlet, filled with quotations from Howe's former speeches and utterances favourable to a union of the British North American colonies. Indeed, so strong were the passages quoted and so effectively were they marshalled by Tupper, that the impression has prevailed everywhere that the confederation of British North America had been Howe's cherished dream. This is not strictly true. That a man with Howe's breadth of view should fail to recognize the possibility and importance of the organization of all British North America into a consolidated dominion, possessing the germs of nationality, is opposed to any conception of his character. Every question which pertained to the development of British America had received his profound consideration, and upon all questions of this character he had made striking and brilliant utterances in his speeches and writings. Nevertheless, it cannot be fairly said that Howe had made himself a conspicuous champion of confederation. If we are to give effect to his utterances in respect to the destinies of British North America, it will be plainly seen that his favourite scheme, from early days, had been a consolidation of the empire, a solution of the problem of the North American colonies by an organized empire in which all the colonies would be represented, and all accept common responsibilities and duties in respect to maintaining imperial integrity. Of that proposition Howe may be said to have been the most conspicuous author, and on the question of imperial federation, no note has been uttered within the last decade by any statesman, imperial or colonial, more advanced or matured than Howe's utterances of fifty years ago. He had in general terms repeatedly and eloquently advocated a union of the British North American colonies, and none were able to perceive with greater breadth of view the importance of such a union and its necessity if a consolidated English-speaking nation was to be developed in North America. In some of his speeches the difficulties in the way of this union are frankly pointed out, and the objections on the part of the Maritime Provinces to linking their destinies completely with Canada had been frankly avowed. When Johnston in 1854 moved a resolution and made an eloquent speech in favour of a union of the British North American provinces, Howe had spoken in anything but enthusiastic terms in support of Johnston's resolution. On the contrary he pitted against this proposition a wider and more dazzling prospect of imperial union. It is just to affirm that, while Howe recognized the value and importance of Canadian confederation, he always cherished a lurking fear that the Maritime Provinces would be completely overshadowed and absorbed by the Upper Provinces in such a union.

Johnston retired to the bench in 1864, and Tupper became actually, as from the beginning he had been virtually, premier. Tupper was a man of great ability and restless ambition. He naturally sought, the moment he found himself safely in the saddle, to inaugurate some movement which would extend beyond the narrow bounds of the province. He consequently introduced a scheme of Maritime union in the session of 1864, and sought the cooperation of the governments of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in furtherance of this project. Both these governments responded favourably to his application, and it was arranged that a convention should assemble early in September at Charlottetown. Nova Scotia was to send five delegates, and, naturally, it was altogether desirable that both of the great political parties should be represented. At this moment Howe was not in the legislature, and was performing the duties of British commissioner under the provisions of the Reciprocity Treaty. The political party with which he was associated was a mere remnant in the legislature, Mr. A. G. Archibald leading the forlorn hope of an opposition.

At the time this convention at Charlottetown was to be held, no thought of the larger union was present as a definite proposition in the minds of any of the provincial governments. Though Howe was not in public life, few would question that he, above all others, should be asked to join in such a large measure as the union of the Maritime Provinces. Sir Charles Tupper has always asserted that he invited Mr. Howe to become a delegate from Nova Scotia to this convention. But the absence of any official communication to that effect in the provincial secretary's office occasioned doubt in many minds as to the accuracy of this. The matter, however, has been placed beyond doubt, for the original correspondence is in the possession of Mr. Sydenham Howe, Joseph Howe's only surviving son, and is as follows:—

"Halifax, August 16th, 1864. My Dear Sir:—I have the pleasure of informing you that your name has been this morning submitted by the executive council to His Excellency the lieutenant-governor as one of the delegates to the conference upon the union of the Maritime Provinces, and I am instructed by His Excellency to enquire if you will accept that office and attend the meeting of delegates at Charlottetown on September 1st. I remain, Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) C. Tupper."

"H. M. S. Lily, August 16th, 1864. My Dear Sir:—I am sorry for many reasons to be compelled to decline participation in the conference at Charlottetown. The season is so far advanced that I find my summer's work would be so seriously deranged by the visit to Prince Edward Island that without permission from the foreign office, I would scarcely be justified in consulting my own feelings at the-expense of the public service. I shall be home in October, and will be very happy to cooperate in carrying out any measure upon which the conference shall agree. Very truly yours, (Sgd.) Joseph Howe."

A seat on the delegation was offered, of course, to Mr. Archibald, the leader of the opposition, and the other seat, it appears from the official records, was offered to Mr. John Locke, M.P.P. for Shelburne county, a leading representative of the Liberal party in the House. Mr. Locke declined to serve, and Mr. Archibald was asked by Sir Charles Tupper to name the gentleman he would prefer to be associated with him on the delegation, and he named Mr. Jonathan McCully, who was the leader at that time of the Liberal party in the legislative council. Dr. Tupper, Mr. W. A. Henry and Mr. R. B. Dickie were the delegates chosen from the government side of the House.

It is not necessary to dwell in detail upon the incidents attending confederation. The Maritime delegates met at Charlottetown. Difficulties immediately presented themselves in the way of a Maritime union, which bade fair to be insuperable, and while these were being grappled with, Sir John Macdonald and his associates from Canada appeared suddenly upon the scene and proposed a union of all. the provinces, and induced the delegates of the three provinces to meet Canadian delegates at a conference at Quebec to consider a wider scheme of confederation, which should embrace all British North America. Representatives of all the provinces, including Newfoundland, agreed to this, and the famous Quebec conference was held, at which a scheme of confederation, quite ample in its details, and not widely differing in principle from the scheme ultimately adopted in 1867, was framed. It is, indeed, an unfortunate incident that in the consideration of such a great question as engaged the attention of the statesmen of Canada at Quebec, a man of the genius, experience and national reputation of Joseph Howe should have been absent. Sir Charles Tupper declares that, having invited him to take part in the Charlottetown convention, and he having declined, and Messrs. Archibald and McCully having accepted and taken part in the deliberations at Charlottetown, and having been present when the invitation was extended by the Canadian delegates to go to Quebec, it was impossible for him to ask either of these gentlemen to retire in order that Howe might have a place. It may also be added that Mr. Sydenham Howe declares very distinctly that, even if his father had been invited to attend the Quebec conference, he would have been unable to serve owing to the fact that at that particular season he was actively engaged in his official duties and was cruising in H. M. S. Lily round the coast. At all events, a measure of confederation was drawn up in Quebec in October, 1864, and assented to by the representatives of all the provinces, and Joseph Howe had no part in the matter.

How this scheme was presently submitted to the public; how it was adopted, after serious discussion, by the Canadian parliament in 1865; how it was rejected by New Brunswick very soon after its publication and Mr. Tilley swept from office, and an anti-confederate government, under Mr. Albert J. Smith, installed in power, which necessarily postponed the whole question; how it was rejected by Prince Edward Island, and how all the ingenuity and skill of Dr. Tupper was essential to prevent a resolution hostile to it being passed in the Nova Scotia legislature in 1865; and how ultimately New Brunswick reversed its judgment and adopted the scheme in 1866; and how the legislature of Nova Scotia, on the suggestion of Mr. William Miller, who had been one of the pronounced opponents of confederation, adopted a resolution, by a majority of thirty-one to nineteen, authorizing the delegates to frame a scheme in London, are incidents well known and not necessary at this stage to be elaborated. It is enough to say that very early after the publication of this scheme, it became manifest that the people of Nova Scotia were unfavourably disposed to the union, as laid down in the Quebec resolutions, and were prepared to offer bitter and uncompromising opposition to the confederation scheme. Public meetings were called in Halifax, at which eloquent and aggressive speeches were made against the scheme. These meetings were extended throughout the province, and unusual political excitement was generated. Party lines for the first time in Nova Scotia began to be obliterated. The most determined opponents to confederation were lifelong supporters of Mr. Johnston, and up to that moment, had been followers of Dr. Tupper. Messrs. A. G. Jones, W. B. Vail and Martin I. Wilkins may be cited as conspicuous examples of* Conservative opposition to the union. On the other hand, Messrs. Archibald and McCully, the actual leaders of the Liberal party in the legislature, were supporting confederation. While this excitement was developing, every person in Nova Scotia was profoundly anxious to know what course Mr. Howe would take in this matter, because every one recognized that he was still the greatest man and the most potent factor in the public life of the country.

Notice had been given by the American government of the termination of the Reciprocity Treaty, and Howe recognized, of course, that with its termination his position as an imperial officer ceased.

This meant cessation of employment, which was not an altogether unimportant consideration to a man who had not accumulated a dollar.

Howe had ample time to weigh the situation carefully and to determine his action after balancing every consideration. On the one hand was the fact that he had often expressed himself concerning the union of British North America as one of the great and imperative questions of the future, and that now a more definite prospect loomed up of securing this great object than had ever previously existed. On the other hand the situation presented a great and terrible temptation, almost beyond the power of mortal man to resist. Howe saw a recent and not much beloved rival at the head of affairs in Nova Scotia, suddenly become a conspicuous figure in the moulding of a great measure of national and far-reaching import. His own political party had been annihilated in 1863. There were manifest tokens of popular hostility to confederation in Nova Scotia. What if these prejudices could be utilized for the destruction of Tupper and his high-flown scheme with which his name had become so conspicuously associated? When this had been accomplished, Mr. Howe might reflect it would be easy for himself to reopen the matter and secure a measure of confederation which would more amply satisfy the interests of the Maritime Provinces. The temptation thus presented to a man of Howe's active temperament, who was soon to be without employment, has induced many persons to believe that he was influenced by personal considerations in the action which he finally took in reference to confederation. That these considerations may have had some influence upon his judgment, it is indeed, impossible to deny, but a close examination into his every act and motive at the time entirely rebuts the supposition that personal considerations were in any way paramount in influencing his action. As for the matter of livelihood, Mr. Howe, foreseeing the termination of his imperial office, had made ample provision for securing a liberal competence. His literary abilities had so far impressed the proprietor of the New York Albion as to induce him to offer Howe a handsome salary to undertake the editorial management of that paper, and a written contract had been, entered into, the terms of which were everything that Howe could desire.

The following is the contract actually signed between Mr. Howe and Mr. Morrell:—

"New York, March 22nd, 1866. Memo, of Agreement:—Referring to the correspondence hereunto annexed, it is agreed:—That Joseph Howe shall as early as possible after the 31st inst., assume the editorial management of the New York Albion, and that William H. Morrell shall pay him quarterly at the rate of three thousand five hundred dollars per annum. It being understood that should anything occur to make it Mr. Howe's interest to withdraw from the engagement, he shall forfeit one quarter's salary to Mr. Morrell and shall give hiin at least one month's notice. Joseph Howe, W. H. Morrell."

Writing to his wife at this time, from New York, Howe gives some interesting particulars which indicate pretty clearly the trend of his mind at this moment. No reference is made whatever to confederation, nor any hint given of re-entering politics:— " When I left home, as you know, though my prospects of further official employment were good, still there was just enough of doubt and uncertainty about it to make us both anxious as to the future. Assuming the desire and the intention of my friends over sea to be all that we could wish, still there might be delay, and a year or two wasted in waiting, without income, would embarrass and vex us a good deal. But Providence seems to provide for us often in modes very unexpected and often just at the right time. I had hardly arrived here Saturday morning when an application was made to me by Mr. William Morrell, who has purchased the New York Albion, to write for, or what he would much prefer, to edit the paper after March 31st next, when the transfer takes place. The offer was made in the most flattering terms, it being assumed that the views and policy of the speech at Detroit would guide my pen in the conduct of the paper. We dined together and discussed the whole subject with the utmost frankness nearly all day. . . After a good deal of friendly chat, I explained my position and expectations and gave him to under: stand that if official employment offered I could only consent to write for the paper, living where I liked and receiving a certain annual sum. This I thought I could do while I remained on the continent. If free of other engagements I might be induced to edit the paper if he could make it worth my while. He finally said he would make me offers, either of which I could accept any time within two months, but he would prefer that I should assume control of the paper. He would give me $1,500 for editorial or other contributions, leaving me free to attend to other business and live where I liked, or he would give me $3,500 to edit the Albion. If the paper prospered, as he thought it would, he would add $500 to either offer I accepted, at the close of the year. All this was very handsome and fair, and astonished me very much, as it will you. Here, at all events, are bread and cheese, a living for my family, and an honourable and influential position independent of local politics or of friends over the sea. If nothing better turns up we are thus provided for and have two months to look round us, if anything better is on the cards. If they give me anything I can make my $1,500 by light labour and get my salary besides. If they give me nothing we can live here in our usual quiet way, and put by $1,000 every year to pay our debts, leaving our assets in Nova Scotia undiminished. For this new and unexpected mercy I fervently thank God. It makes me feel more independent of all chances and casualties than I have done for many a day."

Howe was undoubtedly at this time not especially disposed to resume public life in Nova Scotia. Always desirous of imperial appointment, and realizing by this time how little trust could be reposed by a colonial statesman upon British magnanimity in this regard, Howe would unquestionably seek in preference a position in the literary world. As has been said, he had distinct tastes in the direction of literature and wielded a most facile and graceful pen. A situation, therefore, on a leading paper of literary scope in the city of New York would be congenial employment, and would give him at the same time an opportunity of collecting his various manuscripts and of producing something in literature which would be worthy of his genius. Those most closely associated with Howe at this critical period of his life declare that he was extremely reluctant to take any step which would lead to his re-entry into the political field, but he was unquestionably honestly and frankly opposed to the Quebec scheme. It must be mentioned in this connection that from various points of view the Quebec scheme was not altogether just to Nova Scotia, financially or otherwise, and this of itself constituted a large factor in justification of a policy of hostility. That Howe, in finally resolving to throw the weight of his power against confederation, intended thereby to destroy forever the principle of confederation cannot for a single moment be believed. That he thought himself fully justified in destroying Tupper's scheme of confederation on the ground that it was unjust to Nova Scotia and should not be adopted until the people of Nova Scotia had pronounced judgment upon it is the fact, and whatever consequences to Howe's name and reputation in history are involved by that fact must be accepted and endured. At the first great public meeting held at Temperance Hall in Halifax to denounce the scheme, Howe sat upon the platform but said nothing. Mr. McCully had been editor of Annand's Morning Chronicle for several years, and had come back from Quebec a firm advocate of confederation, and wrote his editorials accordingly. Suddenly there came a time when, like a thunder bolt from a clear sky, appeared the first of a series of articles which extended for several days, entitled " The Botheration Scheme, No. 1." Any person in Nova Scotia who had been familiar with Joseph Howe and his unique and unmistakable style could have no doubt that these thunder bolts proceeded from the great old tribune himself.

The political situation in Nova Scotia at this time was mixed. Dr. Tupper and his government were overwhelmingly strong in the legislature; Archibald, the leader of the opposition, and Hiram Blanchard, one of his' chief lieutenants, were cordially supporting confederation. McCully, the leader of the opposition in the legislative council, was also cooperating with Tupper in furthering confederation. It was clear, however, that the confederation question must quickly overshadow all local issues, and as a consequence, we find those of both parties opposed to confederation in the House, coming together and appointing a leader. Mr. Archibald was ignored, and Mr. Stewart Campbell of Guysboro was chosen for this position. Several supporters of the government had announced their hostility to confederation, and leading Conservatives and supporters of the government were openly announcing their determination to resist the scheme to the death. The session of 1866 brought matters to a crisis. The anti-confederate New Brunswick government had been disposed of. Tilley had come back victorious to office after another general election, and New Brunswick was ripe to enter the union. It only remained for Nova Scotia to join and confederation was assured. The two islands of Prince Edward and Newfoundland were too small to be of serious consequence in the creation of the union, and it was, of course, confidently believed that they would join in due course. It was not quite plain how the existing House of Assembly could be induced to accept the Quebec project. It was a notorious fact that a majority of the members were avowedly hostile, and, vigorous and determined a leader as Dr. Tupper was, it was not easy for him to discover the methods by which he could get a favourable vote for confederation in the existing temper of the House. Suddenly, one day, when the session was well advanced, and when every one was on the qui vive as to what steps Tupper would take, Mr. William Miller, now Senator Miller, member for the county of Richmond, made a speech favouring the appointment of delegates to meet representatives of the other provinces in London for the purpose of framing a scheme of confederation more favourable to the interests of Nova Scotia. Most members of the anti-confederate party at that time believed that this startling proposition, coming from one of the most active and determined opponents of confederation, was the result of a compact between Tupper and himself. The opportunity of enquiring into this question occurred some years later, when Mr. Miller brought an action for libel against Mr. Annand because the Morning Chronicle had stated that Miller had been corruptly bought by Tupper. In the course of this suit both Miller and Tupper swore most positively that not a single word had passed between them on the subject, and Tupper deposed that no person in the legislature was more amazed than himself when Miller made his proposition. However, Tupper resolved to take instant advantage of the new situation. A few days later he submitted a resolution embodying Miller's proposition, and by the extensive exercise of the patronage of the government and by every bold measure which it was possible for an indomitable man to exercise, secured the passage of this resolution, and the field was thereby ripe for a colonial conference in London for the framing of the British North America Act.

In the meantime Howe was consolidating the opponents, and the Morning Chronicle, of whose columns he obtained control, thundered against the union every day. By mid-summer, 1866, Howe's duties as fishery commissioner ceased with the treaty, and he was free to resume the active duties of a political leader. It should be mentioned in this connection that, notwithstanding the fact that Howe was seriously opposed to the Quebec scheme, and had many misgivings as to the wisdom of linking Nova Scotia with the Canadas in view of the unfortunate political muddle which had characterized the last decade of their history, he, nevertheless, went to Mr. Archibald, prior to his sailing for England as a delegate to frame confederation, and told him that if it was provided, in any act so framed, that the scheme should not come into operation until it had been submitted to the people of Nova Scotia and voted upon by them, he would withdraw all further opposition and cease entirely the agitation. No such assurance was given him by Archibald, nor indeed was there the slightest intention on the part of the promoters that anything of the kind should be done. It was the purpose of the authors of confederation to get the scheme legally adopted and to run no risks of a hostile vote of the people. This high-handed method of overturning the constitution of the country without popular assent, was obnoxious to every deep-rooted sentiment of Howe s nature. That the people should rule in all matters had been his invincible principle from the earliest moment of his political life, and it unquestionably stirred his indignation to have this scheme, which he regarded as unfavourable to Nova Scotia, consummated by the imperial parliament in defiance of the wishes of her people.

The following extract from a letter to the Hon. Isaac Buchanan, dated June 20th, 1866, will give a fair idea of the dominant views of Mr. Howe at this time:—"You seem to mistake altogether the grounds on which I have taken the field. Though I have never proposed any scheme of union I have no invincible objection to become a Unionist provided anybody will show me a scheme which does not sacrifice the interests of the Maritime Provinces. The Quebec scheme does sacrifice them completely and the reference to a committee in England is not only an unconstitutional waiver of the rights and responsibilities of the legislature but a leap in the dark besides. The people of Nova Scotia have for one hundred and eight years had their own parliament, and responsible government for twenty-five. I hold that to deprive them of these rights by an arbitrary act of parliament, at the instigation of the Canadians who have never invested a pound of capital in our country, would be an outrage out of which would grow undying hatreds and ultimate annexation. If an honest, practicable scheme of union can be arranged, let it be printed, perfect in all its parts (which the Quebec scheme is not), and when it has been aired in all the provinces, let the people accept or reject it. If they voluntarily abandon their institutions they will sincerely support the union. If tricked or bullied out of what they value highly they will never be content. When our four hundred thousand tons of shipping go sweeping over the sea with their flags half-mast high, carrying into all British and foreign ports a protest against the outrage done' them by the Canadians, you may judge how much stronger they will be for the support of such allies. My course is clear. Old opinions have nothing to do with this matter. I resist the Quebec scheme of government because I do not like it, and the plan for sweeping away the institutions of my country without the consent of its people—because it is an atrocious violation of legal rights never abused or abandoned."

Howe's power over the masses at this time was phenomenal. A few leading Liberals followed Archibald, but it may be safely stated that the entire Liberal party of Nova Scotia, with these few exceptions; placed themselves unreservedly and -with ardour under Howe's banner, and their ranks were swelled by a considerable section of the Conservative party, who were alarmed at confederation.

The delegates met in London December 4th, 1866. The opponents of confederation had raised a considerable fund for the purpose of sending Howe to London, accompanied by Messrs. Annand and Hugh McDonald, M. P. P., to exert their utmost endeavours to defeat, if possible, the confederation scheme. Howe made a magnificent fight in London, but it was manifestly the policy of the imperial government that Canada should be united, and all the weight of the administration was thrown in that direction. It is to be noted also that the leading men occupying the front benches of the opposition were in no way disposed to make an issue of confederation in the imperial parliament.

Howe issued pamphlets, wrote newspaper articles and discussed the question with leading members of the imperial parliament, but without avail, and the British North America Act was adopted on March 29th, 1867, and, as is well known, came into force on July. 1st of that year.

Mr. Howe, his efforts to - prevent the passage of the British North America Act having failed, was in a measure free from further responsibility. He reported fully to Mr. W. J. Stairs, of Halifax, president of the anti-confederate league, and the following correspondence will indicate that his political associates were disposed to allow him4 to exercise his own judgment as to the future. The letter from Mr. Stairs which follows is dated from Halifax, March 28th, 1867:—

"Your letter of the 15th inst. has been received and read to those friends who have been with you so much interested in showing the people of England the state of public feeling in Nova Scotia.

"I thought it right to bring it to the notice of the anti-confederate members of the legislature, and it has elicited with them, jointly with our outside friends, a letter of thanks to you for your devoted services, and shows, if words can express it, their feelings of sympathy for you in this heavy disappointment. Some may say they never expected any other result, that they judged the House of Commons to be as it has proved. But I must say, I am disappointed. I never could have believed the House of Commons was so void of earnestness and so purely selfish as to disregard the rights and wants of a colonial people, when their case was so clearly and distinctly put.

"I must say, if to get rid of these provinces is their idea, and I believe it is, they have shown a clear perception of the mode in which it is to be worked. But all vain regrets must be buried, and we must, to repeat your words, look to make a new page in the history of our country. This is easier for some than for others.

"I am commissioned to convey to you the sense of a meeting of friends held last evening. The names will be seen by you on another paper. The sentiments they expressed as regards yourself were these:—1st. That after the devotion and sacrifice you have made of yourself on behalf of Nova Scotia, it is the wish of your friends and the friends of Nova Scotia, that you should cease from any course of public action in the interests of Nova Scotia which may be made at a sacrifice of your personal feelings and interests. 2nd. Your friends feel that should you return and wish to join the parliament at Ottawa, they will hail your aid as of most serious importance to the party whose duty it will be to mould the constitution of the new state, with regard to the interests of Nova Scotia. 3rd. It was expressed by the Hon. Mr. McHeffy that the county of Hants would, whether you were absent or present, return you as a member of the parliament at Ottawa.1

"And now, dear sir, I have tried to convey to you the sense of the meeting, but I feel it has been most imperfectly put. The kindly words which expressed these thoughts I cannot reproduce. Of this, however, be assured, your friends will hail with pleasure any word which may reach them of your being happily employed in England, and should you return to continue your lot among us, you will ever have the first place among your countrymen. ..."

The following is Mr. Howe's reply to Mr. Stairs's letter, dated April 12th, 1867, from 25 Saville Row, London:—"Many thanks for your long, kind letter and its enclosure. Our friends have expressed in a very earnest and touching manner what I know every one of them feel. Though savage enough when all was over I was never for a moment depressed. I had calculated all the chances before coming here, and knew that they were heavily against me. But I knew also that it was my duty to come. If I had not, my honour would have been tarnished and my conscience wounded. Having done my best I can now sleep soundly. Even the Canadians (no matter what our scamps may say) admit that we made a most gallant fight, and now that it is all over I have the satisfaction to know that, however provoked, we have not, in the face of the world, discredited our friends or our country by one ungentlemanly act or word.

"In leaving me perfectly free to follow my own fortunes, my friends have shown their appreciation of past labours, and recognize my right to repose. I have thought much of this matter during the past month, and I have come to these conclusions, that, perplexed and comparatively defenceless as our people must be for some time, I am hardly at liberty to desert them now, at the very crisis of affairs, and when some guidance may be required— at all events, that I cannot do this, or seek or accept other employment until after the general election. If my countrymen desire my aid and wish me to go to Ottawa, they will say so and some county will elect me. If they do not, then they absolve me from all obligation, and I can then dispose of what remains of my life to the best advantage. Were I to express an opinion as to what ought to be done, I might err, and therefore do not, and the matter must rest entirely with my countrymen, whom, by no overt act, on this personal point, can I attempt to influence or control. I shall probably go home by the boat of April 27th, and be governed by the action of my friends, if any has been taken. An idea has got abroad here that I am expected to lead the opposition at Ottawa. It would be a great mistake for our people to pledge themselves to oppose an administration which is not in existence, and which cannot be formed until after the elections take place all over the confederacy. All that they ought to do is to pledge themselves to cooperate and take any line that in their judgments will be most for the interests of our country.

"To conclude the personal matter, let me say that I have not, since I came here, asked any office or preferment, nor do I think, if any were offered, that I could honourably accept it, without laying myself in some way open to the suspicion of in some way compromising the dignity of my mission, and withdrawing myself from responsibilities which my countrymen may yet wish me to assume."

This is a manly, straightforward statement of his position. Two extracts from his letters to Mrs. Howe at this period show as conclusively that he proposed, having gone thus far, to share the fortunes of his party and make one last struggle for his country. "No appointment has been offered me, nor have I asked for any! The subject of my personal claims or position has never been even alluded to in any communication, personal or written, since I came here. This battle must be fought out before I can think of my own interests or yours either, which God knows are always uppermost in my thoughts. You take, as you always do, just and patriotic views of our duty at this crisis. When the last shot has been fired and I can do no more in defence of my country's rights and interests, with a clear conscience and a cheerful spirit I can commence the world again, and a kind Providence will take care of us as it has always done. It is not worth while even to speculate as to the future just yet, but we will think quick when the proper time comes."

And a fortnight later, on March 2nd, 1867, he writes:—" As you may suppose, the last fortnight has been one of anxiety and vexation, but through it all I have been cheered with the consciousness that I have done my duty to my country and to yours and to my father's principles and memory, and am a thousand times happier than I was at Washington or at home last spring before I had decided on my course. I can now live among my own countrymen and enjoy their respect, or lie down beside my father in the churchyard. Do not feel about my disappointment. I never could have been happy had I not fought this battle through, and when it is over will face the future with a light heart."

No one will be surprised then, that after confederation was adopted by parliament, Howe forthwith went back to Nova Scotia and began one of the most brilliant political campaigns in the record of colonial government in British North America. The first general election for the House of Commons of Canada was to take place in September, 1867, and the election for the first provincial legislature was to take place on the same day. A provincial government had been formed under the auspices of Dr. Tupper in July, with Mr. Hiram Blanchard and Mr. P. C. Hill as leading members. A Dominion cabinet was formed at the same time at Ottawa with Sir John A. Macdonald at the head of it, and with Messrs. Archibald and Kenny as the Nova Scotia representatives. Dr. Tupper himself, with great magnanimity, had resigned his right to a seat, which was, of course, placed at his disposal. Howe had one clear purpose, which was to carry, if possible, every one of the nineteen seats which Nova Scotia had in the House of Commons and every one of the thirty-eight seats in the House of Assembly, and to achieve this in the face of all the power and patronage of both the federal and provincial governments and also in the face of the tremendous force and power of Dr. Tupper as an opponent. During the spring of 1867 Howe made a political tour of Nova Scotia, addressing large meetings from town to town, east and west. The enthusiasm which he inspired on these occasions cannot be adequately described in words. His face was not as familiar as of yore in all parts of Nova Scotia, and for some years his voice had not been heard, but he still lived in the hearts of the masses of the people as the greatest figure in the political world. Unquestionably, the sentiment of Nova Scotia at this stage was hostile to political union with Canada, but with the leading politicians on both sides accepting it, it is likely, if Howe had remained neutral, that this opposition would have failed to take effective form and shape. But with Howe at the head of the movement, it developed into a tidal wave which even the indomitable will of Tupper could not resist, although, in justice to him, it must be said that he threw the whole power of his splendid energy into the contest.

The writer may, perhaps, be permitted to describe the incidents of one of these meetings of Howe in 1867, of which he was an eye-witness. The meeting for Annapolis county was to be held in Bridgetown, one of the largest and most central towns in the county. The meeting was to take place in the forenoon, which, under ordinary circumstances, would be an impossible hour to secure a great gathering in a farming population, but from eight o'clock onwards carriages began to roll into the town from every quarter, and by half-past ten the town was filled with an excited multitude. A little later Howe drove in himself and was enthusiastically greeted by the multitudes along the street. He put up for a short time at the leading hotel at the head of the street, and hundreds, if not thousands, watched to see his form near a window in the upper story, where, seated at a table, he was making a few notes in preparation for the meeting. At last, accompanied by a number of leading friends, he walked to the court-house. It was found that the building would not contain one-half of the people, and as the day was fairly pleasant, it was necessary to move outside and speak from the steps to the multitude in the open air. Mr. Howe was dressed tastefully, as always, in a suit of grey, and wore a tall white hat. When the meeting was organized and a chairman appointed, Howe came forward and stated that he was accustomed at all such gatherings to begin with three cheers for our beloved Queen, and these were given with a will. Howe was extremely careful during his whole anti-confederate, and later during his repeal campaign, to make sure that no charge of disloyalty to the empire could be preferred against any action on his part or that of the party with which he was associated. He then launched forth into a magnificent speech dealing with the subject in its broadest terms and carefully abstaining from any mere claptrap appeals to the popular prejudices. As an example of the imagery with which he could embellish passages of his speech, one extract may be given from this admirable address:—

"Aye, but think of the attractions of Ottawa! They may be very great, but I think I may be pardoned if I prefer an old city beside the Thames. London is large enough for me, and you will no doubt prefer London with its magnificent proportions to Ottawa with its magnificent distances. London! the commercial centre of the world, the nursing mother of universal enterprise, the home of the arts, the seat of empire, the fountain-head of civilization. London ! where the Lady we honour sits enthroned in the hearts of her subjects, and where the statesmen, the warriors, the orators, historians and poets, who have illustrated the vigour of our race and the compass of our language repose beneath piles so venerable we do not miss the cornice and the plaster. London ! where the archives of a nationality not created in a fortnight are preserved, where personal liberty is secured by the decision of free courts, and where legislative chambers, the most elevated in tone, control the national councils and guard the interests of the empire. Surely with such a capital as this we need not seek for another in the backwoods of Canada, and we may be pardoned if we prefer London under the dominion of John Bull, to Ottawa under the dominion of Jack Frost."

Howe, at all events, so successfully pursued his campaign against confederation that out of nineteen members of the House of Commons, only one, Dr. Tupper, and that by the most tremendous exertions, was elected to represent the confederate cause, and of the thirty-eight seats in the provincial legislature only two confederates secured election, and one of these, Mr. Blanchard, by a division in the ranks of the anti-confederate party. He was promptly unseated, and at the bye-election defeated by an immense majority, a few months later. Most of the anti-confederate candidates in both the federal and provincial House were elected by overwhelming majorities. In fact a more complete tidal wave of popular opinion was scarcely ever exhibited in the history of popular government.

Howe at this moment was the hero of the hour, and it seemed as if he held the destiny of the province within his own keeping. A provincial government was promptly formed with Mr. Annand, Howe's life-long friend, at the head of it, and with his anti-confederate supporters as members. At the first session of the federal parliament, Howe appeared with an unbroken phalanx to raise the note of repeal in the national councils, while his only opponent, Dr. Tupper, confronted him without a follower. This was the appearance that matters assumed at this moment, but the history of the world demonstrates clearly enough that events are not controlled by mere majorities. Now that Howe had been able, by dint of his marvellous influence, to induce the people of Nova Scotia to reject confederation and demand the disruption of the union, what was to be the outcome ? For upon the solution of this must depend ultimately the strength or weakness of Howe's position.

Of course, the provincial government took immediate steps to obtain a repeal of the union, and in this they received the cooperation of all the Nova Scotia members of the House of Commons, with three exceptions. One exception the reader would naturally expect, but already Dr. Tupper was proceeding with his task of sapping the strength of the anti-confederate party. Mr. Stewart Campbell, who had been elected to the House of Commons for Guysboro, as an unflinching anti-confederate, had suddenly announced his belief that, as confederation had been adopted, it would be unwise and unpatriotic to take further steps to secure its dismemberment. Mr. James McKeagney of the county of Cape Breton had from the beginning intimated his determination to take a similar course, and these two men from this moment may be classed as Dr. Tupper's followers. A delegation was immediately appointed to go to England and demand a repeal of the British North America Act, so far as it related to Nova Scotia. Of course, Howe was put at the head of this delegation, with Annand, J. C. Troop and H. W. Smith as co-delegates. Howe sailed for England on February 14th, 1868, and the other delegates proceeded later. Dr. Tupper was chosen by the government of Canada as its representative to oppose the action of the Nova Scotian repealers, and to uphold the integrity of the Dominion.

Howe, who was, of course, the soul of the delegation, proceeded to take the most active measures to further his plans. He issued pamphlets and published letters. He canvassed personally members of the House of Commons and of the House of Lords. He was able to secure the active cooperation of no less a personage than Mr. John Bright, who became his spokesman in the House of Commons, and of Lord Stratheden in the House of Lords, but he plainly saw very soon after his arrival, indeed it is not unlikely that the suspicion took possession of his mind before he started, that it was distinctly a part of the imperial policy that confederation should be maintained. He was therefore unable to secure .the slightest aid or encouragement from the colonial secretary or the members of the government, and he found equal difficulty in obtaining any cordial cooperation from those occupying the front benches of the opposition.

Early in March Tupper appeared in London and his first step on his arrival there was to proceed to Howe's lodgings to present his compliments. Unquestionably, Tupper felt that he was bound to capture Howe, and he recognized that even the stars in their courses were fighting for him and his cause. Howe and Tupper had their first interview alone in London. The situation could not be misunderstood. Dr. Tupper said: "Mr. Howe, you are here seeking a repeal of this union. You are commissioned for that purpose, and bound to exert your utmost efforts. You will fail. What then?"

And indeed, what answer could Howe make, even with his overwhelming majority in the provincial legislature and his great array of support in the House of Commons, and his overpowering command of the electorate ? Could he propose political union with the United States? Tupper knew that it was opposed to every instinct and prejudice of Howe's character. Was rebellion to be thought of? Three hundred thousand Nova Scotians against the empire! This was too preposterous for serious consideration. What then? Was Howe's great statesmanship to be put to no better use than to disturb and agitate the union and give birth to a spirit of faction and unrest, which would paralyze the efforts of the authors and founders of this new nation? Could any one expect that a man of Howe's greatness could picture such a line of conduct as the outcome of all those large ideas of constructive statesmenship which had characterized his entire life ? Tupper clearly perceived this when he put that poignant question—"What then?"

Howe naturally pleaded that he could do nothing but remain true to those whom he represented. He knew quite well that he had conjured up a spectre which he could not down and was powerless to control. But Dr. Tupper's answer was prompt': "You cannot permanently ally yourself with a disturbing faction. Your place is in the government of Canada, helping by your talents and your influence with the masses to secure the effective operation of confederation itself." And when all was said and done, that was the only course open to Joseph Howe. He remained in London to the end, until Mr. Bright's proposition for a committee of enquiry was voted down by an overwhelming majority, and when a proposition favourable to repeal had been rejected by an incoming Liberal administration in as clear and decisive terms as had characterized the answer from the Conservative government which had just left office.

Before leaving England Howe penned an eloquent and spirited protest on behalf of Nova Scotia addressed to the colonial secretary, in which he concluded with these memorable words: "In the interim, we presume, the future of our country will be anxiously considered by its people. May the Almighty guide them. Having discharged our duty to the empire, we go home to share the perils of our native land, in whose service we consider it an honour to labour, whose fortunes in this, the darkest hour in her history, it would be cowardice to desert." Then he and his co-delegates sailed for Halifax, and on board the same steamer was Dr. Charles Tupper. Before leaving England he had written to Sir John Macdonald that " Howe would soon be with us."

Howe and his associates were received in Halifax by the anti-confederate party as the heroes of Nova Scotia's rights, and Tupper was welcomed by a few leading men who had gathered upon the wharf to present their respects, among others Mr. Tilley, of New Brunswick. Howe's position at this moment was extremely trying and painful. He saw plainly that it would be unpatriotic and unworthy to keep up a fruitless agitation which would constitute a disturbing feature in confederation, and yet it required little prescience to foresee what attitude would be assumed towards him by that great anti-confederate party which his genius had created. There is nothing from which a spirited man shrinks with such instinctive horror as the charge of treason, and it was not difficult to perceive that any movement on his part towards staying the insensate agitation for repeal would be met by a howl of indignant dissent from the repeal party. This, indeed, might have been avoided but for the existence of a provincial government. The members who had been elected to the House of Commons were distinctly pleased with the condition they found there; soon began to fraternize with the representatives of the other provinces, and soon in their hearts ceased to have the slightest desire for a repeal of the union. But the members of the provincial government were not brought in contact with Canadian questions at all. They owed their position to the tidal wave of anti-confederate feeling in Nova Scotia. They believed that this still existed and would not spend its force for some years, and that the most effective method by which they could retain the confidence of the people who sent them there was to keep up the agitation for repeal, though they knew quite well that it would be hopeless and fruitless. Therefore at this moment the highly-inflamed anti-confederate party in Nova Scotia looked to the local government for the championship of its cause rather than to the members of the House of Commons. If the leaders of the provincial government had frankly agreed with Howe as to the course which should be pursued, much of the difficulty and opprobrium with which he had later to contend would have been avoided. But there was no intention on the part of the leaders of the provincial government to do anything of the sort. The consequence was that the first moment Howe gave indications of an intention to hesitate respecting further measures looking to repeal, Mr. Annand, his life-long friend and associate, parted company with him, and opened the columns of the Morning Chronicle to an unceasing tirade of abuse of his old leader and hero.

When Howe returned from England he was still received and regarded as the leader and hope of the repeal party. If any of his associates on the delegation had suspicions regarding his future course, they concealed them, and, as a consequence, public meetings and receptions were held in which Mr. Howe was glorified for his able championship of the repeal cause; and uncompromising determination to carry forward the struggle was everywhere expressed. But events were developing. On landing at Halifax Tupper found Mr. Tilley, a member of the federal cabinet, and to him he unfolded Howe's doubts and difficulties, and the inevitable determination to which they must ultimately carry him. Mr. Tilley was induced to write a letter to Sir John Macdonald, recommending that he come down to Nova Scotia and confer with the leaders of the anti-confederate party. As for Tupper himself, he set out straightway for Ottawa to find Sir John in person, and not finding him there, pursued him to Toronto and induced him to agree to visit Nova Scotia about August 1st, 1868. It happened that the provincial legislature was to hold a special session at that date, and in view of the failure of the repeal delegation, a convention of all the provincial and federal members opposed to confederation was to be held in Halifax. Tupper's anxiety was not so much to secure a favourable consideration of any proposition to stay the repeal movement with the party generally as to bring Sir John and Mr. Howe together, because he recognized that if Howe's cooperation could be obtained, the backbone of the repeal movement would be broken, and that Howe's great name and influence, allied to his own confederate followers in Nova Scotia, would quickly give him command of the situation.

Sir John agreed to this visit and was accompanied by Sir Georges Cartier, Mr. Peter Mitchell and Mr. William McDougall. The announcement of Sir John's intended visit was made in advance, and was received with mingled feelings by the anti-confederate party. Sir John, although confederation had been achieved but a year, had already gained the reputation of being a most able and adroit manipulator of men and conditions, and the uncompromising repealer viewed with alarm the prospect of the wily politician bedevilling the leaders of the anti-confederate party. One of the repeal organs, the Acadian Recorder, went so far as to suggest violence to Sir John, and this drew from Mr. Howe the following letter to the editor of the Morning Chronicle, dated July 30th, 1868, which is so characteristic of the man that it must be inserted in full:

"The papers inform us that Sir John A. Macdonald and his lady, and perhaps Mr. Cartier, are coming to Nova Scotia on a visit, and the editor of an evening paper bespeaks for them, should they come, discourteous treatment, if not rougher handling. I regret to see this spirit manifested in any quarter. Where actual war rages flags of truce are respected, and the soldiers in the field exchange courtesies across their lines which lend the grace of chivalry to the sternest conflicts. Roderick Dhu shared his plaid and his heather couch with Fitz James, though ready and anxious to cross swords with him in the morning. We have taught the public men of Canada and of England within the past two years that the people of Nova Scotia are men and not cravens. Let us show them now that we are gentlemen and not ruffians. One rude word, one act of discourtesy, would disgrace us all, and bring such discredit on our cause as to make it hopeless hereafter.

"Nineteen Nova Scotians traversed the Canadas last fall, and sojourned for forty days in the capital of the Dominion. Though the great majority of them were known to be hostile to the fundamental law under which the legislature was convened, and not very friendly to the government—though I and others denounced the act and the policy of the majority on all suitable occasions, with indignant freedom of speech, yet from the time we entered Canada until we came out of it we received from all classes of the people hospitable and courteous treatment. I passed through the crowded corridors of the House of Commons with my hot words ringing in the ears of the people I met, but they never offered me insult, and at three o'clock in the morning I often went to my lodgings alone, as little apprehensive of obstruction or offence as I would have been in the streets of Halifax. Let us hear no more, then, of different treatment of Canadians, high or low, in any part of the province. If we have lost our constitution let us preserve our manners.

"The secretary of state and the imperial parliament have thrown upon the Canadian government the responsibility of action in the great controversy which, at the present moment, perplexes us all. It would appear that its leaders have promptly responded, and will come here to discuss with Nova Scotians such remedial measures as they may have to propose. We are bound to give them a fair hearing and courteous treatment. Is our case so bad that we are afraid to discuss it on our own soil with the leading men of Canada? Are we so strong that we can afford to outrage the public sentiments of the whole world by a reckless disregard of all usages of civilized diplomacy? I think not, and I hasten to say that I should deeply regret if any indiscretion were to sully a course which has hitherto been conducted with dignity and temper which have challenged the respect even of those to whom we have stood opposed. I am quite sure that on reflection, the writer to whose article I refer, and whose views it is possible I may have misapprehended, will concur in the opinions which I consider it a public duty thus frankly to express."

This was the first public utterance which had fallen from Howe's lips since his return from England. His residence was a neat little cottage in a grove on the Dartmouth side of the harbour, and while all others were talking the great old sage remained silent, and his silence was bearing its fruit in mutterings of suspicion on the part of his friends and followers. This letter gave a distinct indication of his intention to treat with Sir John, and his desire that he should be courteously received during his visit.

Sir John and his colleagues arrived at Halifax on a Saturday evening, July 31st, and Sir John himself became a guest of Sir Hastings Doyle at government house. He immediately addressed a note to Mr. Howe, stating his desire to meet him, and suggesting Sunday at half-past one o'clock as a suitable hour. Howe acknowledged the note and agreed to meet him at that hour at government house, and it can be easily imagined what matters of weighty import were discussed during the afternoon between these two distinguished men. The next day the anti-confederate caucus assembled in the old parliament buildings. Mr. Howe presided. An executive committee was appointed to give Sir John Macdonald and his colleagues a hearing, and Howe was able to secure even this slight concession only by his own casting vote. Sir John Macdonald appeared before this committee composed of the leading men of the party, including all the members of the provincial government, but he accomplished nothing definite by this. Sir John was too adroit to commit himself by any injudicious promises. He stated that his government had been charged by the colonial secretary with the duty of discovering what just grievances Nova Scotia had, and if any of the terms of union were shown to be unfair that his government would undertake to make them right, and he invited most full and cordial representations in this regard. So far as the provincial government and its immediate followers were concerned, no concessions would have been accepted. It was not their interest to come to terms. It was their interest at that moment to have the agitation kept up, but Sir John Macdonald's words had their weight with those members of the anti-confederate party who were in the House of Commons, and they were not wanting in effect even upon members of the provincial legislature who were just and broad enough to recognize that the agitation was aimless and vexatious. But Sir John Macdonald's visit had accomplished this important result: it had secured a rapprochement between himself and the great leader of the repeal party.

It is scarcely possible to appreciate the enormous difficulties which surrounded Howe at this moment. Patriotism declared, in unmistakable terms, that it was his duty to abandon this vexatious and hopeless struggle. The appreciation of his own name and character in history proclaimed that it would be impossible to avoid the adverse judgment of mankind, if he lent himself further to a lost cause. On the other hand, he was confronted with the unquestionable fact that he would have the bitter hostility of the provincial government, and that in his ears would be heard the din of a thousand voices proclaiming him a traitor, and these the voices of lifelong friends and admirers. He might well, perhaps, have wished that he could have been spared such a victory as seemed to be his on September 18th, 1867. Sir John Macdonald desired Howe to take immediate steps to end the difficulty. The most persistent claim put forth by the anti-confederate party was that under the financial terms of confederation, Nova Scotia was not receiving full justice. It is scarcely worth while to enquire into the niceties of this claim, because, whether it was well founded or mythical, it was seized upon by Sir John Macdonald as a convenient means of taking some step to reconcile Nova Scotians to the union. He wished Howe to enter at once upon the discussion of better terms with Sir John Rose, the finance minister. Howe hesitated, but he agreed to give the whole question careful consideration and to continue the discussion with Sir John by correspondence. Consequently, soon after his return, Sir John Macdonald wrote a lengthy and carefully prepared letter, setting forth his understanding of the situation, and pressing upon Mr. Howe the necessity of giving these matters careful attention with a view to early action. The correspondence, which extended over two months, between Sir John Macdonald and Howe, has been published in the appendix of Pope's "Life of Sir John Macdonald," and these letters are intensely interesting historical documents, although it must be frankly admitted that in this correspondence, viewed from a political standpoint, Sir John Macdonald comes out distinctly best. Not a line in his several letters but showed evidence of most careful reflection; not an injudicious expression falls from his pen; nothing that could not safely be given to the world at any moment. Howe's letters are scarcely free from some tokens of indiscretion. He sometimes puts himself somewhat in the power of Sir John, and he occasionally betrays unfortunate tokens of personal feeling in regard to his late associates. It must be remembered that at this date Mr. Howe was sixty-five years old, and although many men have exercised their full faculties at a much later period in life, it may be fairly stated that he was not the Howe that drove Sir Colin Campbell and Lord Falkland from Nova Scotia.

Mr. Howe showed Sir John Macdonald's letter to Annand, the head of the provincial government, because he did not fail to realize how important it was that the provincial government should be induced, if possible, to cooperate in measures looking to a settlement of Nova Scotia's grievances on the basis of better terms. Annand read the letter and at once stated: "Yes, we will take this letter and deal with it." Probably this would have been very satisfactory to Howe if he could have trusted Annand to have dealt with it in a fair and ingenuous manner, but it required no great wisdom to see that if left absolutely to be dealt with by the provincial government, it would have been not the means of securing reconciliation, but the means of the provincial government's seeking justification for the continuation of the struggle by imposing unreasonable, indeed impossible, conditions upon the federal government. Howe was therefore compelled to withdraw the letter from Annand's consideration, since, indeed, cooperation was impossible. It was thus that these two life-long friends parted company, and that a powerful faction remained in Nova Scotia to hamper every movement of Howe in the direction of reconciliation, to keep up the agitation for repeal for a year or two longer, and, even then, to leave a rankling sentiment in the breasts of hundreds, if not thousands, of men in Nova Scotia, who might, under fair conditions, have been reconciled to the great measure of Canadian confederation.

Howe's version of the interview between Annand and himself on this point is as follows:—"Mr. Annand wished to shelve Sir John's letter until another delegation could be sent to England. I said, ' If I put this by for six months and let you send a delegation and the answer is unfavourable—what then?' Mr. Annand replied, "Then I will go for annexation.'" To this Mr. Howe answered, "In that case we should have to part, and we may as well part now and save six months' time."

Howe remained in seclusion at " Fairfield " during the summer and autumn. A vote of thanks to the delegates had been adopted by the legislature of -Nova Scotia before its adjournment in September, and a day was appointed on which the delegates were to appear at the bar of the House and receive this token of honour from the mouth of the speaker. Mr. Annand, Mr. Troop and Mr. Smith were at the bar, but the great old Joseph was absent, though not far away. Indeed, at the very moment when the speaker was conveying the sentiments of the House, Howe, on the arm of a friend, was walking to and fro on Hollis Street under the shadow of the parliament building. Mr. Howe had his reasons, and they were fairly good ones, for not wishing at that moment to accept hypocritical professions of regard from the men whom he knew were presently to turn and rend him.

Every day that Howe refused to join in the vehement outcry against confederation the suspicion deepened in the mind of the anti-confederate leaders that he was about to forsake the cause, and dark whispers and ominous shakings of head were heard and seen. Knowing that he was without means it was the prevailing fear of the repealers that Howe would obtain some imperial office as the price of abandoning his friends, or even some lucrative place provided by the federal government. These fears were absolutely without foundation and no doubt remains that Howe was solely concerned in devising the best and most honourable means whereby the provincial interests could be served and the trouble ended.

The wealthy men of the repeal party conceived the idea of meeting these fancied temptations by counter proposals. When Messrs. Howe, Annand and Hugh McDonald went to London in 186667 to oppose the adoption of the confederation scheme, their expenses were paid by a subscription from the friends of the anti-confederate party, and a sum had been raised for this purpose, amounting to $6,710.97. When the anti-confederate government had been formed, subsequent to the elections, it was deemed a proper thing to vote from the provincial treasury this sum for the purpose of recouping the friends who had raised it by voluntary subscription. One day in September, 1868, one of the merchants who had been a liberal contributor to this fund and a devoted friend of Howe, visited him at "Fairfield," and made a proposition that this sum should be handed over to him as a mark of appreciation for his devoted services to the cause. The real object was, of course, delicately veiled, but a man of Howe's discernment could not fail to apprehend its possible meaning. After giving the matter careful consideration he wrote to another very influential friend in the city a lengthy letter in which it will be seen that Howe, in very plain terms, declines to permit his actions to be hampered by personal considerations of any kind. It was publicly stated by Howe that another attempt had been made to bind him to the cause in the form of a proposal to send him to Washington as a special commissioner for Nova Scotia, but this he declined even to consider. The following is the letter above referred to, dated Fairfield, September 26th, 1868 :—

"My dear B.,—G- was over yesterday and we talked all the afternoon. As you and others whose motives are equally friendly were not present I have thought it due to you to put upon paper the substance of what was said to G-.

"1st. As respects the rumours and slanders set afloat about the town and country, I believe they all come out of the province building and had their origin in the meanest and most contemptible of motives. They are without a shadow of foundation.

"2nd. I had with the imperial government in 1867 no intercourse or communication which was not known to or read by Messrs. Annand and McDonald. In 1868, except during the two days that Mrs. Howe and I spent at Stowe, when confederation was never mentioned, some or all of the delegates were present at every interview with the Duke of Buckingham, and saw, I believe, every note that passed between us. I have at no time, since I resigned my fishery commissionership, asked for office, nor has any offer been made to me by Her Majesty's government. I have had no communication with the imperial authorities since leaving England, and the story which I found floating about Hants the other day, that the British government had said to Mr. Howe, 'You quiet Nova Scotia and we will take care of you,' is a base falsehood, without a shadow of foundation.

"3rd. It is just as untrue that I have accepted office under the Dominion government. The very reverse is true, and Sir John Macdonald was informed that nothing would induce me to take office until the country was satisfied and my own friends thought that I could do so with honour. Even when consenting to cooperate with him for the restoration of our American trade it was with the distinct understanding that my services would be gratuitously rendered, that no miserable scamp should have it in his power to say that money was an inducement.

"You will perceive, therefore, that at this moment I stand perfectly independent of the imperial and of the Dominion governments. Now, for many reasons, I desire to stand quite as independent of the local government. In the critical and delicate circumstances in which this province is placed, it may become my duty to act on my own judgment, and, should the necessity arise, I wish to be perfectly untrammelled by all considerations except those of public duty.

*I have no faith in a further appeal to England, and I cannot lie to the people of Nova Scotia and amuse them with vain delusions and another expensive delegation.

"I do not believe in Mr. Wilkins's law, and I do believe in the paramount power of the imperial parliament.

"I do not believe in committing a body of honourable and loyal men to treason, insurrection and filibustering raids into our country without the smallest chance of a fair fight to be crowned by reasonable success.

"I do not believe in passing revenue laws which nobody would obey, without the governor's assent, nor in imprisoning collectors who would be instantly released on a writ of habeas corpus.

"I do not believe in making treasonable speeches one day nor in eating them the next. Nor in censuring a governor and then shrinking from the , inevitable alternative—a dissolution.

"For these, and for sundry other reasons, it is of the utmost importance that I should keep myself clear of all entanglements just now. If, as I believe he will, Sir John A. Macdonald puts into official form the substance of what he said to the committee of the convention, I want to be at perfect liberty to reconsider the whole subject as it may be then presented.

"As respects our mercantile friends, I have nothing to conceal from them. My action in the future as in the past will be fair and open. If they wish to do my family the service delicately explained to me by Mr. G., I am perhaps not rich enough to refuse their gift. But I want it to be made, if made at all, with a full knowledge of the facts. I have always thought, without any reference to what they might do with it, that the merchants were entitled to have the money advanced in 1867 for the public service, repaid by the government. But if this is done it ought to be done purely on public grounds and without reference to its further appropriation. If given to me it should be given for past services, leaving my future action untrammelled. If given" merely as a retainer to commit me to a policy which I may or may not approve, my friends would not, I am sure, feel offended if in that case the offer was respectfully declined."

The correspondence between Mr. Howe and Sir John Macdonald resulted in a conference at Portland between Mr. Howe and Mr. A. W. McLellan, one of the members of the House of Commons, and Sir John Rose, in which the whole financial situation was taken into careful consideration. Mr. A. W. McLellan, who afterwards became a minister, was a sound and able financier, and a very suitable man to cooperate with Mr. Howe in details. It may be mentioned, however, that Howe's first choice for his associate was Mr. A. G. Jones, of Halifax, who was regarded as one of the most influential men of the anti-confederate party, and on Howe's dropping out, became the recognized leader of that party in Nova Scotia. Mr. Jones, in response to Howe's request, very frankly stated his reasons for declining. He would be very glad to enter into such negotiations, with the aim of securing financial justice to Nova Scotia, but he said with much cogency, that any efforts made by any persons who did not secure the cooperation of the provincial government would not settle the question, and that it was useless to attempt to secure a settlement until the local House agreed to it. As evidence that Mr. Howe acted openly in all his actions in this matter, it is to be noted that before going to Portland he addressed the following circular, dated October 19th, 1868, to his Nova Scotia supporters in the House of Commons:—

"Sir John A. Macdonald sent me last week a semi-official letter, embodying the statements and propositions made here to the committee of the convention, to which I have replied to-day. As these papers are of some length I cannot have copies made for all our friends, but I write to say that they and any others that may form part of our correspondence will be open to the inspection of the members of the House of Commons whenever any of them come to town."

At Portland arrangements were made for the sum of $1,188,750 to be added to the debt to be credited Nova Scotia on entering confederation, and an annual payment of $80,000 for ten years. Howe would, undoubtedly, have preferred not to have entered the government of Sir John Macdonald at this time. If he could have maintained an independent attitude as a member of the House of Commons, he could have avoided many imputations which followed his acceptance of an office of honour and emolument. He foresaw this with unerring clearness, but, unfortunately, the option was scarcely left with him. Sir John Macdonald stated that it involved great difficulty and risk to agree to these large concessions to Nova Scotia, and that his only hope of being able to carry such a measure through the House of Commons was by the assurance that the repeal movement would cease, and that the only substantial guarantee he could give to his colleagues and supporters was the presence of Mr. Howe himself in his cabinet, helping to carry out the great work of confederation. To this appeal Howe could make no answer. The consequence was that on January 30th, 1869, Howe was sworn in as president of the privy council, and came back to Nova Scotia to face the issue with the electors of the county of Hants, for which county he was then sitting as member. The contest in Hants was the most memorable in the history of single elections in Nova Scotia. The provincial government and the entire anti-confederate party threw themselves into the county from far and near, because it was recognized that the struggle was one of life or death to the anti-confederate party of Nova Scotia. Funds were not. wanting. The sum of $6,710.97, voted generously by the legislature to recoup the men who had patriotically subscribed it to pay the delegates in 1866-67, was paid over to the treasurer of the repeal league, and the very sum with which the leaders of that movement sought to bind Howe to their cause was in the end applied to secure his defeat in Hants.

Nevertheless, Hpwe's friends were not inactive. As long as his health permitted he made a splendid fight, but, unfortunately, during the campaign his strength completely failed him and he was confined to the house, and the election had to be carried on by friends. The result of the election, however, was entirely satisfactory to Howe. His majority was three hundred and eighty-three, and by his election the cause of repeal received its death blow, although the provincial government still utilized it as a battle-cry for a year or two afterwards, and this notwithstanding the fact that the better terms which Howe had achieved were accepted by them, and all the advantage of the larger annual revenue which his exertions had obtained, inured to their benefit.

Howe did not long remain the president of the council. The department of secretary of state for the provinces soon became vacant by the retire-1 ment of Mr. Archibald, and Howe was assigned to this place. This department was an important one and corresponded very largely with the duties now performed by the minister of the interior. The admission of the North-West Territories and the creation of the province of Manitoba were especially 1 under his control. In order the better to discharge his duties, Howe made a visit to Fort Garry, or Winnipeg, in the autumn of 1869, and studied upon the spot all the circumstances and surroundings of the situation, and became impressed with the idea that difficulties were to be met in taking possession of that country. On his return from this visit he met Mr. McDougall, who was on his way to assume the duties of governor when the territories should be legally handed over. In the brief interview which occurred, Howe frankly pointed out some of the dangers of the situation, but the circumstances of their meeting on a cold day, in open conveyances, made a lengthy interview impossible. Mr. McDougall, after the unfortunate fiasco which attended his attempting to assume his duties, charged Mr. Howe with having fomented the difficulties during his visit to Winnipeg. This charge, of course, was preposterous. Howe had no other object than to remove obstacles and to pave the way towards pleasant and friendly relationships with the people of the new territory which was about to become a part of the Dominion. After his return to Ottawa news of the outbreak on the Red River reached the capital. The correspondence in relation to this troublesome incident in Canadian history devolved upon Mr. Howe, and in it he displayed his old-time ability in unfolding in lucid and fitting terms the varying phases of the situation. In all the important problems which confronted the Canadian government during the four years that he was in office, he took a fairly active part.

Howe's four years as a member of Sir John Macdonald's cabinet are the least glorious of his whole career. His health was impaired, not entirely on account of old age, although he was sixty-five when he became a member of the government, but chiefly owing to the arduous winter campaign of 1869 in his election in Hants, when he was compelled, as has been mentioned, to withdraw from active participation in the fight. His journey to the North-West was also a task beyond his physical power and his exposure during the long journey in a sleigh in November, and the necessity of camping out on the plains produced serious results. Consequently, during the remainder of his term in office he did not possess the vigour and fire of former years. But, apart from this, the situation was novel. Howe had been accustomed all his life to lead and control events. He found himself a member of a government of which Sir John Macdonald was the supreme head and of a cast of mind totally different from his own. Sir John Macdonald was a shrewd political manager, an opportunist, whose unfailing judgment led him unerringly to pursue the course most likely to succeed each hour, each day, each year. Howe had the genius of a bold Reformer, a courageous and creative type of mind, who thought in continents, dreamed dreams and conceived great ideas. Sir John Macdonald busied himself with what concerned the immediate interests of the hour in which he was then living, and yet Sir John Macdonald was a leader who permitted no insubordination. Sir Georges Cartier, a man not to be named in the same breath with Howe as a statesman, was nevertheless a thousand times of more moment and concern with his band of Bleu followers in the House of Commons, than a dozen Howes, and the consequence is that we find, for four years, the great old man playing second fiddle to his inferiors, and cutting a far from heroic figure in the arena in which he had been cast under circumstances altogether unfavourable. There are gleams of the old fire in occasional speeches delivered in the House of Commons, but this old fire usually betrayed him into injudicious observations which led to trouble and sometimes proved perplexing to Sir John Macdonald.

In the spring of 1873 the governorship of Nova Scotia became vacant by the retirement of Sir Hastings Doyle. This position was offered to Howe. He accepted it, and in May, 1873, he was sworn into office, and took up his residence at government house, Halifax, the very place from which he had driven the Colin Campbells and Falklands in a former day. His health was broken, but his friends hoped that the leisure and freedom from care of this position would enable him to recuperate, and Mr. Howe himself on assuming office was cheerful and buoyant. He was not destined to hold this high place long, for his great career was soon to reach its termination.

When weighing, as history must weigh, his claims and qualifications as a statesman of the first order, those of our Canadian fellow-citizens who do not belong to Nova Scotia, and who are not familiar with his great career must try to do him the justice of never measuring his qualities by the four unfortunate years that he was a cabinet minister in Ottawa.

Return to Book Index Page

This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.