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minding the constituencies that their chances of ministerial favors depended upon their granting ministerial support. And by means of those influences and arguments, by means of this prostitution of official and ministerial power and patronage, in violation of the doctrine I have quoted to you as enunciated by Mr. Mackenzie in the case of the Griffin letter, a large majority of supporters was obtained for the government from the maritime Provinces.
Coming again nearer home, we have the illustration of the influence of the vacant shrievalty of this county. We know there were gentlemen who in times past had worked in the ranks with you, and who were found working on the other side.
It was said of them that they had this office dangled before them and were looking forward to the occupancy of the coveted place. The late sheriff had died some months before. Under ordinary circumstances it was the duty of the government to fill the office promptly. But it was more convenient to keep it as a bait for aspirants during the elections. We had rumors in every direction as to who the fortunate man would be, and we had either passive or active resistance on the part of some gentlemen, accounted for by the fact that they had received this much encouragement, at least, that the vacant office must be filled, and they were wonderfully clever fellows and wonderfully well qualified for the position.
Well, the election was scarcely well over and the necessity for this means of using ministerial and official influence past when a gentleman was appointed-who had at least this merit, that he had not deserted his party for the chance of an office; and I am inclined to think there are a good many sore heads in the county of Prescott to-day on account of this matter. These are but a few illustrations of how the gentlemen who are now in office can, from the Opposition benches, lay down doctrines such as those embodied in the resolution I have read to you, and then when in office can, in violation of these doctrines, prostitute ministerial influence and the patronage of the Crown to their own party interests, as was never done in Canada under any former administration.
And now, sir, let me say that I had some doubts whether in an address such as that which I am now delivering I should refer in any way to the celebrated Pacific scandal, the im mediate cause of the downfall of the Liberal-Conservative government. But it occurred to me that, now that the elections are over-now that men's minds have cooled down, now that there are no votes to be got by discussing the question and denouncing the public men of the country in connection with it, now when the sober second thought must be beginning to assert itself, that now might be a good time to look at the question fairly and dispassionately and deal with it as it really deserves to be dealt with, to see what it really amounts to, and whether it was the heinous, unpardonable American connection in the matter of the Pacific Railway.
The gravamen of the charge is not that Sir Hugh Allan subscribed a large sum of money to the elections. He, as a wealthy member of the party, had a right to do this if he chose to do it. Even the pure-minded gentlemen who now sit on the ministerial benches, and who are so horrified at the idea of money being spent at elections, could, if they were for a moment seized with that rare commodity—candor -tell us of some pretty large expenditures during the last elections, and could perhaps tell us that the source of that reservoir, from which an almost never-ceasing supply ran into the different counties, is to be found in the remarkable change recently announced in their views on the subject of American connection in the matter of the Pacific Railway.
I have no doubt that Mr. R. W. Scott, who from his seat at Ottawa, sent forth his missionaries into the different counties, could tell us something. I have no doubt that throughout the country, as, for instance, in one of the divisions of Montreal, we could find evidences of expenditures which aggregated over the whole Dominion would make the contribution of Sir Hugh Allan, great as it was, appear small. The truth is, and I admit it with regret, that money does get spent at elections, and my own experience is that those who bawl most loudly for purity generally manage to spend the most.
The gravamen of this charge, I repeat, is not the mere fact of subscription by a wealthy member of the party to the election funds of the party. The gravamen of the charge is, and if that could be established it would be a damning one, that Sir John A. Macdonald, being the first minister of the crown, entered into such an agreement with Sir Hugh Allan, who was at the time both a contractor and an expectant contractor, and accepted money from him for party purposes on such terms as prevented him doing his duty to the country in regard to any contract in which Sir Hugh Allan was inter ested. Is there anything in the records of Parliament since the elections of 1872, or in the evidence taken before the commission, or in the well-known facts connected with the Pacific Railway charter, to justify this charge?
Take the first. It is true that Sir Hugh Allan, or rather the firm of which he is the head, was a contractor, a contractor for carrying the ocean mails. Well, what happened? The very first session after these transactions took place that contract had to be renewed, and it was renewed at half the price of the old one! Did that look like being bound by. any agreement against the interests of the country?
And as to the second, we know from the testimony of a gentleman who certainly showed during the November session no disposition to befriend the late government, that Sir Hugh Allan was compelled to abandon, one after another, all the special features of the Pacific Railway charter upon which he had set his heart, and was not even consulted, but, on the contrary, his advice was actually rejected in the matter of the gentlemen who were to compose that company. I know of my own knowledge that in relation to one gentleman especially, with whom he had been acting in railroad matters, he felt deeply chagrined at not having been able to secure his presence on the board of directors. Did that look as if there had been an agreement which bound ministers to Sir Hugh Allan against their own independent conception of their duty to the country? ...
Sir John Macdonald, gentlemen, committed a great mistake in being personally connected with any question of money for the elections and he has most grievously suffered for it. It was a mistake resulting from the absence in Canada of those political organizations which in England assume the management of these things, and it was a mistake which he committed in common with other public men of both political parties, and, if I am not greatly mistaken, in common even with members of the pure government which we have presiding over the destinies of Canada to-day.
But no man in Canada, from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver, would venture the assertion that a single sixpence had stuck to his own fingers or tended to enrich himself. The money he obtained he spent in aiding his friends throughout Ontario in their elections, and the whole amount
obtained by him did not exceed what I venture to say has been spent in three elections that I would name during the late contest in this country on the Clear Grit side alone.
I venture, sir, to think that the maturer judgment, the sober second thought of the people of this country will yet vindicate the character of the great statesman who has so long presided over the destinies of this country and whose name is so eminently associated with the twenty years of Liberal-Conservative administration in Canada from the bitter aspersions which a mad jealousy and disappointed ambition have heaped upon it.
I venture, sir, to think that that judgment will shape itself after this fashion: Here is a man who, at the cost of professional prospects which might have made him one of the wealthy men of the land, entered at an early age the service of his country, and for thirty years has uninterruptedly given to that service the eminent abilities with which God has endowed him; who for twenty years has been in official life, and has during that time solved all the great questions which separated and agitated the country, and has given to it measures which have brought peace and prosperity to the people; who, finding a number of isolated Provinces with hostile tariffs and local agitations, has welded them into one great Dominion in the enjoyment of free constitutional government under the crown of Great Britain; under whose administration the people have both socially and politically and materially enjoyed a prosperity certainly not excelled by that enjoyed by any other people on the face of the earth; who has made the name of Canada known and respected the world over, and has made for himself an honored name on both sides of the Atlantic; who has received at the hands of his sovereign honors such as have never been bestowed upon any