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The Imperial Federation Movement in Canada

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FOREWORD ......................................
IN CANADA .............
.APPENDICES...................................... 149
BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................... 171
The world has watched with interest the
evolution of the constitutional relations of the British
Empire from what we call the "first Empire" of the eigh­
teenth century to the free association of equal nations
recognized at the Imperial Conference of 1926 and legal­
ized by the Statute of Westminster in 1931*
Many of these
changes have come since the first World War, but the basic
direction of the trend had been indicated long before.
With the new appreciation of colonies preva­
lent by the last quarter of the nineteenth century,
unity of the Empire became the proclaimed goal of all part­
ies, but the methods advocated to achieve it were diverse.
The Imperial Federation League was organized in England in
1884 to promote imperial unity in opposition to those for­
ces natural or deliberate which seemed to be operating for
the break-up of the Empire.
It pledged that no program
should interfere with the existing rights of the several
parliaments in local affairs.
There was lack of unanimity
among the members, however, and on that rock of disagreement
the movement ultimately stranded.
The Imperial Federation League in Canada was
inaugurated at Montreal in May, 1885, a gathering attended
by many members of Parliament.
The completion of the Can-
a&lan Pacific Railway in 1885, hailed as an imperial
highway of communications and defence, made financiers
in the United States aware of the implications of Can­
adian expansion and development,
A united transcontin­
ental state with competitive attractions for immigration
and developmental investment gave reality to their fears
of a flourishing rival political economy.
As a step toward
the absorption of this potential competition -- and to­
ward peaceful annexation -- the commercial union movement
was organized on both sides of the border by Erastus Wiman,
a Canadian expatriate.
Aided by the oratorical talents of
Mr. G-oldwin Smith and backed from across the line, Wiman
launched his propaganda for commercial union in the summer
of 1887*
Canadians did not immediately perceive the ul­
terior motives of his campaign, but gradually LieutenantColonel George T. Denison organized a counter propaganda
centering about the Imperial Federation League.
that year only three branches had been established in all
Canada* now new branches were formed from coast to coast
in the face of this external threat.
The annexationist
speeches of Senator John Sherman, Chairman of the Senate
Committee on Foreign Affairs, the fisheries question, the
Retaliation Act and the McKinley tariff spurred the League
to propose a commercial union of the British Empire.
quickened forces of international rivalry in the 1890's
enabled the League throughout the Empire to appeal to the
strength of national sentiment and history in support
of its economic and political program.
By March, 1891,
a climax had been reached in Canada and a decision was
won electorally against the proposal for unrestricted
reciprocity with the United States.
Influenced by their personal points
of view or because of the geographical, political or
economic positions of their homelands, federation!sts
severally urged an imperial parliament, common defence
system, imperial tariff union and the like.
Unified sup­
port of any one of these was conceded to be impossible,
and in November, 1893, a meeting was held which dissolved
the Imperial Federation League in the United Kingdom.
must be recognized, however, that the main object had been
achieved -- that of making Imperial federation a subject
which engaged thoughtful minds and was emplanted in the
public consciousness.
The secrecy and abruptness of the
dissolution considerably embarrassed the thriving Canadian
branch, but it chose to continue the fight.
A delegation
was sent to London to cooperate with the sympathetic branch
of that city in forming the nucleus of the British Empire
League, organized in England in 1895 and in the Dominion
the following year.
In Britain the aggressive wing whose
factionalism had split the old League by demanding colonial
cash contributions to the imperial defence services,
ceeded to organize as the Imperial Federation (Defence)
The cause of federalism was now schismatic.
The prestige of the new preferential
tariff group which composed the British Empire League
rose enormously with the adherence of the Colonial Sec­
retary, Joseph Chamberlain.
At the Colonial Conferences
of 1897 and 1902 and in a strenuous political campaign
in 1903 he expounded his views on imperial tariff and po­
litical reorganization.
But the courageous departure from
free trade canons split his party.
With his retirement in
1906 any action in the near future was out of the question.
Canada’s extension of preference in 1897 and subsequent of­
fers, remained unreciprocated.
Isolated proposals for imperial federation
continued to appear.
The question of naval defence became
increasingly important after 1900; and at the Conference
in 1911 an imperial parliament as the representative body
of a federated Empire was proposed by Sir Joseph Ward of
New Zealand, only to meet with the unqualified opposition
of Canada.
In that same year the old bogey of reciprocity
had once again to be laid low, and with it the political
fortunes of Laurier.
Canadian nationalists, realizing
that time was with them in centrifugal evolution, consis­
tently opposed any suggestion for an organic union.
cause the federationists looked to the past for nomen­
clature and theory they were put in the position of
sponsoring political ideas inimical to minority rights
and responsible government, thus creating political
fuel which their opponents were quick to utilize. The
implied rigidity of federalism placed it at a disadvantage
Against the failure of its panaceas must
be credited the rousing of an imperial sentiment far more
potent than designs for super-parliaments.
The two de­
cades since the war of 1914-1918 have seen the Dominions
attain full national status, with no diminution of imper­
ial ties other than legal ones.
The new conflict in 1939
has brought a striking voluntary unanimity in war reac­
tions and encouraged a mobilization which the crusading
federationists were unable to secure by moral force. In
this new spirit of cooperation, their ultimate aim,
perial federal!sm^was supremely victorious.
The new imperialism of the 1880's has
been widely studied particularly in its tropical manifesta­
tions, but to neglect the simultaneous tide toward "dominionism" and imperial unity is to create an unbalanced pic­
It is to ignore significant progress because of the
attractions of sensational incidents.
Fashoda, Suez and
the Cape-to-Cairo dream are colourful pages in imperial
history; but the soberer conference of 1887 and the organi­
zation of the Imperial Federation League are no less far
reaching in their consequences.
To present imperial federation as a move­
ment called into being by a specific incident, efficiently
officered, directed toward one goal and consistently arti­
culate as to that goal would be to base a study upon false
No such unity can be discerned in its initial
For several years it is best described in such
ahadowy terms as an "interest" or "trend of thought"
ually coming to be held by "groups" of men interested in
"public" questions.
Unsatisfactory as this vaguity must be
for purposes of presentation any premature unity introduced
to facilitate literary style would be artificial and a dis­
tortion of fact.
One can only peruse the expressions of
Individual opinion, seeking a basic line of thought until
such time as the nation, having grown more sympathetic
toward imperial interests, should be moved by a combina-
tion of internal and external forces to feel a need for
imperial federation*
A closer imperial relationship was not
a new concept in the late nineteenth century.
One might
construct a continuous chain of interest from the New
England Confederation of 1643, the suggestions of Governor
Pownall of New England, Franklin's Albany plan of 1754 and
later proposals in 1775, and the Galloway plan of 1774,
through the blundering efforts culminating in the Revolu-
tion, through the colonial reformers of 1830 (Edward Gib-
bon Wakefield, Charles Buller and Lord Durham), past the
famed speech of Joseph Howe on imperial union in 1854, and
on to the new federal interest of the 1880's.
But the
mid-Victorian period had been one of almost unrelieved
Little Englandism, and in contrast to that the revival of
imperial enthusiasm almost seemed an Innovation.
The even-
tual independence of the colonies had been assumed and even
desired as a move to liberate Great Britain from burdensome
expense and responsibilities
most unlikely to interrupt the close commercial relations
with the former colonies.
dividuals, the Empire had not disintegrated.
an adjustment which was
But despite the opinions of inOn the other
|l l/Then opposition leader in Nova Scotia*
h 2/Smillie, E.A. Historical origins of Imperial federation.
[1754-1867] . Montreal, 1910.
hand, the colonies were exhibiting astonishing growth and
value which the revolution in communications enhanced.
The small importance of colonies in a pacific world comjj mercially dominated by Great Britain had been the mainstay
of the laissez-faire and Manchester school arguments; but
it was precisely these bases which were now attacked by
the new school of imperialism.
granted that this comfortable
Gould it be taken for
superiority would be perma­
nent in a world of closer contacts, increased belligerency,
1 and budding industrial and commercial rivalry of no mean
' proportions?
Germany and Italy, in their new awareness of
nationality, were impatient toacquire the colonial badges
i of great powers. France faced her defeat in 1871 with a
| wounded pride which forged her life for the next half cent­
ury into the pattern of a great military and commercial
Against these foreign threats which British im-
; perial disintegration would abet, schemes for the unity
r of the Empire were one manifestation of national resisj
| tance. Less to be exploited than tropical acquisitions,
!1 the colonies still represented valuable markets, national
; depositories for population, financial investment and in|
calculable bulwarks of prestige and reserve power. Fur! thermore, contemporary history provided potent arguments
for the creation of large, closely integrated states. Germany, Italy and Canada had been recently federated; the
Australians acknowledged unity as their goal, and the Ameri-
cans had fought a war for the maintenance of that principle.
[1/Tyler,J.E. Struggle for imperial unity (1868-1695) Tl938), p.9*
2/ibid., p.14.
While federationists
ideas did not crystallize during
the seventies, attention was directed to the problem
and to the marshalling of arguments on this coming is­
sue .
The Royal Colonial Society was established
in 1868 with the significant motto — - f,United Empire." Prob­
ably the first public discussion of imperial federation was
1 given in two provocative articles by Edward Jenkins, 1/ AgentI General for Canada, 1874-6, and member of Parliament, 1874-80.
Individual states like the United States and Canada had found
security in federation; therefore he argued that imperial con-
federation would be an important factor for world peace,
a guarantee of local independence.
In July of that year a
; private group held a conference on the colonial question at
I the Westminster Palace Hotel where Francis P. Labilliere of
j Australia
read a paper on " Imperial and colonial federal­
A federal scheme including an imperial parliament
and cabinet was published by Jehu Mathews, a Canadian jour6/
nalist, in 1872.
Articles by Granville C. Cunningham on
"The federation of the English empire" in the Westmlnster
advanced a definite plan for an imperial parliament
i| of elected representatives to stem the current devolution of
|: judicial,commercial and military affairs to separate control.
1/Adams, G.B. “Rise of imperial federalism.*1 Amer.Hist .Assoc.
Ann.Report for 1894 (1895), 26.
i 2/wAn imperial confederation.” Contemporary Review. XVII (Jan.,
1871), 60-79.
3/”Imperial federalism." ibid. (Apr.,1871), 188.
4/Later to be an organizer of the Imperial Federation League.
5/This was soon published, and another pamphlet in 1875 on Perma­
nent unity of the empire.
6/a colonist on the colonial question.
7/220 (1879T, 22-9, 147-53, 153-62.
Even more important was the public
support voiced by the Liberal member of Parliament,
W* E. Forster, former colonial under-secretary.
though the party ancients were as firm as ever in opposing
Imperialism, the younger men did not feel bound by their
Prime Minister Gladstone and his Colonial
Secretary, Lord Granville, were out of sympathy with the
new tide of imperial interest, which some scholars credit
to the influence of the wider electorate enfranchised by
the 1867 parliamentary reform.
This indifference of
the Liberals presented political opportunity to the Con­
servatives, but popular reaction among the Liberal elector­
ate to Granville*s withdrawal of troops from Australasia
and other incidents showed that alarm was bipartisan.
Disraeli was slow to achieve that breadth of imperial out-
look which later characterized his politics.
qualified advocacy of imperial
But his un-
unity in the Crystal Palace
speech of June 24, 1872, came from his evaluation of^world
changes in progress and the necessity of formulating
balances of power.
One of the features of his ministry from
1874 to 1880 was the strengthening of imperial defences.
the 1880 elections Industrial and agrarian unrest turned up­
on the government and the complications of imperialism at-
tendant upon the events of 1878 may have wearied the public
temporarily, but the tide had definitely turned.
2/Schuyler,R.L* "Climax of anti-imperialism in England." Pol.
Scl.Quar.. XXXVI (1921), 537-60; Dicey,E. "Mr. Gladstone and
our empire." 19th Century, II (1877), 292-308; Knaplund.P.
Gladstone and Britain1s Imperial policy (1927).
3/Cheng, S.C.-Y. Schemes for the federation of the British
Empire(1931). p.32; Tyler,op.cit..p.21.
/T H r 1
— —
Gladstone remained in office for five years (1880-1885),
there was no abatement of imperial interest nor of unof­
ficial activity*
The Little Englandlsm of the century
had prevailed in the Liberal party up to this time; but
a new generation of leaders, swayed by the youthful, vig­
orous Conservative view, was led by men like Rosebery and
Forster to an active imperial policy.
Old style Liberals
had grown accustomed to colonial self-government and even
regarded the disintegration of the Empire as an inevitable
consequence of their own theories of democracy.
And yet
it was this very indifference which, coupled with dwindling
security in international relations, revived the imperial
It is even more noteworthy that the desire for un­
ion was a reaction against "inevitable” Independence, and
that it was largely of colonial origin, thrust, as it were,
upon an England rudely awakened by colonial clamour from
the tranquility of the status quo.
This growing imperial
interest among prominent Liberals forced a revision of pol­
icy upon members of the old school.
Lord G-ranville announc­
ed that he intended to attack Froude for his remark in
Oceana that the Liberal party was less anxious than the Con­
servative to retain the colonies.
However true the remark
in the past, his Lordship said it was not so now.
17T y l e r T p p .c 1t ..p .7.
2/Burt,A.L. Imperial architects (1913), p.113.
3/Saunders,E.M. Life and letters of...Sir Charles Tupper (1916),
II, 70.
The new point of view aroused as
much contradiction throughout the Empire as in England*
Professor Goldwin Smith of Oxford, of whom more was to
be heard in Canada, pointed out to the Canadian premier,
Sir John Macdonald,
their difference of views.
donald regarded Canada as part of the British Empire,
Smith as a community of the new world for whose destiny...
"I hold and avow with the indiscretion which is the ap­
panage of students, the opinion that the political bond
must in the end be severed, and that any policy founded
on the opposite hypothesis is a house built on sand."
But to Sir John
the imperial edifice seemed less fragile.
This was only natural, considering that he was chief among
the fathers of Canadian confederation in 1867 and sponsor
of a "National Policy" designed to build
under the Crown.
national autonomy
He saw the fallacy of cut and dried for-
mulae of federation and would never commit himself to them,
but he favoured closer cooperation and permanent membership
in the British Empire.
During the early years of imperial
enthusiasm Sir John’s support was often sought and he, along
with other prominent statesmen, was frequently"memorialized"
on the subject of Imperial federation.
One W. Miller,
member of Parliament in the United Kingdom and author of many
such appeals signed "Empiricus", interviewed and wrote Sir
John at length during his stay in London in the summer of
i1/Pope.Sir J .(ed.)^Memoirs of...Macdonald (rev.ed.1930),p.263.
I2/ibid.. pp.580-2.
Mr, Miller advocated federation along the lines Pf
a Zollverein and was quite sanguine as to its achievement.
He analyzed the sympathy of the Earl of Carnarvon,
Derby, the historian Froude, members of Parliament Edward
Blake (a Canadian), W.E, Forster, John Bright and Shaw of
the Home Rulers, and editor Baxter of the Times,
for a coalition ministry to advance
next parliament.
and hoped
the question in the
It was rather awkward for the younger
Liberals to offer Irish Home Rule with one hand and an in­
corporated Empire with the other.
But Mr. Miller*s solu­
tion for that was to couple local autonomy with imperial
federation..." for I think I had convinced Shaw that the
only chance the Home rulers had was through taking up Home
rule on patriotic ground and turning their Irish Home rule
into Imperial Home rule....This development I wish to favour
! in the imperial direction which the national spirit of Scoti
land has taken, and I am sure that the incorporation of Canj
‘ ada into the Empire would solve the Irish problem in an Imi3/
| perial sense."
Canadians sympathized with Home Rule,
holding it analogous to their own autonomous state; but the
! Canadian High Commissioner, Sir Alexander T. Galt,
;l/British Colonial Secretary during the most crucial period of
| negotiations for Canadian federation.
|2/Macdonald Papers. Mlscell.1879-80. Pt.3; W, Miller to Sir John,
London, Aug.lS,1879.
b/On the establishment of the office in 1880 see Imperial White
Paper C.2594-, among Macdonald Papers; Miscell.1879. Pt.2.
5/An untiring worker for Canadian federation in the 1850* s and
I860 *s.
exceeded his quasi-diplomatic status by publicly ad­
vocating it in England.
Even at this early date the imperial
customs preference plan seemed to many the most practi­
cal one advanced.
An official Canadian delegation visit­
ing England in 1879 informed the Colonial Secretary, Sir
Michael Hicks-Beach, of its willingness to conclude such
an arrangement.
The English correspondent of another
distinguished Canadian (Sir Sandford Fleming, promoter of
the Canadian Pacific Railway project) endorsed this Zollverein plan suggesting Anglo-Canadian compacts to which
other British territories might adhere as opportunities
Sir Charles Tupper, the new High Commissioner
who succeeded the indiscreet Mr. G-alt in June,l 883, gave
^ 3/
his influential support to this customs proposal.
Charles as a contemporary of Macdonald^in the Confederation
struggle, had championed union in the Maritime Provinces.
Subsequently he had been a constant ministerial colleague
of Sir John's and was rapidly becoming an imperial as well
as a Canadian figure.
Still another indication of tariff
I reform sentiment in England was voiced by the Earl of Dun| raven in a letter to Sir John Macdonald.
His Lordship en­
quired whether a low duty on American wheat (low enough not
j1/Tupper.Sir C. Recollections of sixty years, (1914) ,P .246.
2/Fleming Papers. Vol.23; W.H.Fitzgerald to F. Aug.14,1879.
I3/Tupper7 Recollections. p.247.
to increase the price of bread in Britain ) would be
sufficient to benefit Canada and "turn a considerable
stream of capital and men into the southwest of Cana­
da which otherwise would go to the Northwestern States
and Territories of the United States."
Appended was
a further query of the feasibility of colonial representa­
tion by the creation of colonial peerages for a reformed
House of Lords.
The decade of the 1880's was a time for
action along many lines.
The imperial problem was admit­
ted, colonial and commercial rivalry recognized, diplomatic
isolation and the defence problem faced; and the decks were
cleared for action.
The hoary tradition of free trade was
attacked freely by the rival Fair Trade League which was
established in May, 1881.
The key to its economic program
lay in developing imperial resources, levying a moderate
duty on foreign foodstuffs, while according free admission
of foods from the countries of the Empire which in exchange
gave an advantage to British manufactures.
The decade also
marked the flourishing of aggressive imperialism in back2/
ward regions and the development
of a philosophy which ap­
plied to it as well as to that form of imperialism concerned
with progressive self-government and imperial comity.
familiar writings of Dilke,
and Ma1/Pope.op.clt..pp.304-5; Dec.1.1883. private.
2/Best discussion in Moon,P.T. Imperialism and world politics.(
4/Greater Britain (1880), Problems of greater Britain (2v.l890)
5/The expansion of England (18$3).
6/Oceana (18H6T.----------
not only envisaged a Christianizing and civilizing
mission in darkest Africa, but spoke with dignity and in­
spiration of a world-wide Britannic nation and its destiny
as an association of world leaders*
These psychological
and political arguments were reenforced by the new nation­
al historical school of economics*
Ideas for imperial federation had taken
various forms according to the personal viewpoint or geo27
graphical locale of their originators.
However wide their
divergence the common goal of unity tended to draw them all
into the Imperial Federation league in 1884.
The advantages
of such a union to Great Britain have been mentioned.
the benefits would be reciprocal.
The colonies would enjoy
increased rights (and would share responsibilities) In poli­
cy-making, marketing advantages, career services, and the
increased potential power of the commonwealth.
They would
also feel the solidarity of their background, and, as Tyler
admirably states it, a sense of history, preventing that
l/lnfluence of sea power oh history.~T5~60-1783 (1897K
2/lmperial federation, a phrase which has been Indiscriminately
used to indicate any idea, effort, or proposal for the consoli­
dation of the Empire, is susceptible of various shades of mean­
ing. At one time, it may signify some form of partial federal
union, whether commercial, military or political; at another,
it may imply some type of incomplete federal device, whether a
council, an assembly or a parliament. (Cheng, ojo.cijb. ,p .15) •
In any case it was unwise to attach the name to the
organization working for imperial unity, as all of its members
by no means concurred in regarding federalism as the only solu­
tion of the problem. It should be understood that the term is
used loosely throughout the movement. (Tyler,op.cit.,pp.109-10)«
conceit born of the delusion of originality in the conception and practice of free government.
The Imperial Federation League was or­
ganized July 29, 1884, by a small committee formed at the
suggestion of Captain Sir John Colomb and Francis Labil2/
It was the latter who had suLceinctly summarized
their purpose in four clauses:
...common defence involves common
expense; common expense and danger confer the
right of common control of foreign affairs from
which danger may arise, and of the forces re­
quired for defence; common control must be by
common representation; common ©presentation is
Imperial Federation. 3/
The introductory speech of the Chairman. W.E. Forster, at
the organizing conference advanced substantially the same
The British colonies had been given selfa wise step -—
but a step which must end
in either of two alternatives: in independence or federation.
v The
actual form of the federation was not prede­
termined nor was it to be a rigid eighteenth century form,
ula foisted upon the colonies, but only such an imperial
T7Tbid.,p .105 ♦
i2/Cheng.op .cit.,p .37•
3/Labilliere,F.P. Political organisation of the empire(1881), p.26.
4/imperial Federation. Report of the conf ere nee held July 29.
1884, at the Westminster Palace Hotel. (London,1884),p.28;
also Forster,W.E. imperial federation.11 19th Century , XVII
j (1885), 201. Cf. Burt.op.cit.,pp.216-21.
union 11on terms of perfect equality to the Colonies as well
as to England11 as all concerned could work out together.
The main object of the meeting was, Mr. Forster concluded,
11to keep constantly the idea and aim of Union before all
classes of the British public, both at home and in the Col27
The chief resolution was moved by W. H. Smith,
First Lord of the Admiralty, 1877-1880:
That the political relations between
G-reat Britain and her Colonies must inevitably
lead to ultimate Federation or disintegration.
That in order to avert the latter, and to se­
cure the permanent unity of the Empire, some
form of Federation is indispensable* 3/
The following Minute of the special com­
mittee is worth quoting in full as the "credo" of the con­
ference :
The Committee would submit to the Conference
1.That in order to maintain the permanent uni­
ty of the Empire some extsnion of its political or­
ganisation will be indispensable, so that the large
and rapidly increasing population of the portions
of the Empire beyond the seas may have an adequate
voice in the control of Foreign relations, defence,
and all other common interests and concerns, and may
take a fair share in sustaining Imperial responsib­
2.That the time has arrived when those who feel
the need of some political organisation for this pur­
pose should openly advocate such a policy.
l7lmperial Federation. Report. op.cit., p.43.
3 .That,whilst there should no longer
be any hesitation on the part of the advo­
cates of the unity of the Empire in pointing
to Federation as the end they have ultimate­
ly in view, they should at present avoid em­
barrassing the question by attempting specifi­
cally to lay down the details of a Federal organ­
isation for the Empire; neither should they pre­
scribe the time within which the establishment
of such a Federation^ should take place.
4.That, in orderto attain the end in view,
it is only necessary to bring home to the minds
of the people of this country, and of the Col­
onies, the advantages of the permanent unity and
ultimate Federation of the United Kingdom, Cana­
da, Australasia, South Africa, and other British
Colonies, as our great national aim in the fu­
ture, the details being left to be adjusted by
those authoritatively empowered to arrange them
on behalf of this country and the Colonies,
when the time shall arrive for the formation of
such Federation.
3.That if the permanert unity of the Empire
be kept clearly in view, and the nature of Fed­
eral Government be well considered, its adoption
will not be difficult, even if the growth of the
Colonies or the circumstances of the Empire
should require it to be carried out sooner than
may be anticipated.
6.The Committee recommend the formation of
a Society for the special object of enlightening
public opinion throughout the Empire as to the
advantages of permanent unity, and as to the na­
ture and different forms of Federal Government;
so that the people of the Empire, both in these
Isles and beyond the seas, may be the better
able to decide as to the exact form of that Gov­
ernment which they may prefer whenever they shallX
feel that the time has arrived for its adoption. 1/
Subsequent resolutions of the conference created a committee
to establish the society and report thereon at another confer-
ence in the autumn.
The officers of the committee were*
W.E. Forster, Chairman; Sir Frederick Young and Captain
Sir John Colomb, Vice-Chairmen; Francis P. Labilliere,
J. Denistoun Wood, H. 0. Arnold-Forster and
Harold Finch-Hatton, Treasurers.
Press comment on the meeting was diverse.
The Standard approved the idea of federation but thought a
representative Colonial Council to advise the Colonial Sec­
retary more practical than any tariff or parliamentary fed2/
The Daily Telegraph appeared even more hopeful
and called attention to the fact that it was a subject above
party politics as was "sufficiently evidenced by men like
Mr. Forster, Mr. Smith and Lord Rosebery uniting together in
support of the same views."
Even more interesting are the references
made in private correspondence.
The Canadian High Commis­
sioner, Sir Charles Tupper, wrote his premier as to ^is
partic ipation;
...I. expressed the great pleasure it
gave me to find the leading men of both parties combining to draw closer and perpetuate the
ties that bound the Colonies to the mother
country, but said that it would be impossible
for me to commit myself to the statement that
unless Federation were adopted disintegration
must follow. I referred to the radical change
that had recently taken place in the constitu-
I1/Other notables present were Lord Rosebery, W.H.Smith, James
i Bryce, Albert Gray(later Governor-General of Canada), Sir F.
j Dillon Bell (Agent-General for New Zealand), Sir Charles TupI per(Canadian High Commissioner), Sir Samuel Saul (Agent-Gen­
eral for New South Wales), Oliver Mowat (Premier of Ontario),
R.B* Dickey (Canadian Senator) and D 1Alton McCarthy,K.C . (Can­
adian member of Parliament.
2/lmper ia,l Federation.Report. op .cit.,p .77; July 30,1384.
tion of Canada and said that with the mar­
vellous progress she had since made and the
devoted loyalty to the crown and love of
British institutions that exists there it
would be impossible for me to say that the
connection could not continue unless some­
thing that had not yet been shown to be prac­
ticable were done. I referred to the danger
of unsettling peoples1 minds by the affirma­
tion of an abstract principle of that kind.
I carried the meeting with me enthusiastical­
ly and as you will see the resolution was
modified and the word Federation explained to
mean anything. I am satisfied that I did wise­
ly in going there and taking the part I did,
but would like you to tell me in this as in
all other matters just what you think. 1/
Sir John's reply indicates his habitual caution:
I don't believe that a practicable
scheme can be worked out for a legislative
Confederation of the Empire, but, as you
say, it would have been highly Impolitic
in you to throw cold water on any attempt
at a greater consolidation or drawing togeth­
er of the different parts of the Empire. Your
objection to the resolution was a good one
and I am glad to see that it was amended in
the direction you desired. 2/
Sir Frederick Young, for some years a
prominent worker and writer for imperial federation,
jubilantly to Sir Sandford Fleming
of the success of the July
conference and of his eagerness to learn the colonial reaction.
l/Macdonald Papers. Miscell. 1884-5. I.
T. to Sir John, July 30,
1884. Sir Charles had opposed representation in the imperial
Parliament consistently since pre-Confederation days.
2/Tupper Papers.II. No.217. Aug.13,1884.
3/Author of Imperial federation (1876). Cf. Burt, op.cit..
4/Famous railway engineer in Canada in the 1850's and 1860's,
and later connected with cable projects.
5/Fleming Papers. Vol.21; Sir Frederick Young to F., Aug.5,1884.
Probably, however, the prevalent
Canadian opinion was
that expressed by George Stephen of Montreal in a let­
ter to Sir Charles Tupper;
X read the proceedings of your Federa­
tion of the Empire meeting and quite agree with
you that the effect will be to increase the in­
terest of the people at home in Canada though I
must add that I think we out here will have enough
to do if we take good care of the Empire here.
without attempting to extend our efforts to the
management of affairs in England or in other out­
lying parts of the Empire. 1/
Meanwhile, the opponent® of imperial
federation who saw the movement taking shape and substance
before their very eyes, were not idle.
reasons for opposition were;
Chief among their
suspicion of constitutional
rigidity and any change in status of the British parliament,
hesitation to force union when current relations were satis­
factory, interference with colonial autonomy, the thorny
Indian question, and the possibility of detracting attention
from necessary legislation (especially social reform) to this
more intriguing issue.
It was ri^itly doubted whether opin­
ion in Britain and even that of all the Empire would be will­
ing to see the historic Parliament at Westminster, from which
so m&ny constitutional traditions had stemmed, subordinated
to a new, artificial body.
Such a super-parliament would
not have been called into being by a nation's historic need,
but as a mechanical expedient.
The scheme savoured of inno­
vation; and that alone made it unacceptable to most British
1/Tupper Papers. II. No.217a, private;2/Cheng,op.cit., ch.5.
G.S. to T.
But an even more practical objection lay in the
question of colonial rights of representation in such a
On what common basis could representatives from all
the Empire be elected to one parliament?
What likelihood
could there be that the young self-governing Dominion and
colonies would be willing to exchange their increasingly
sovereign position for what must be, by the sheer weight of
numbers, a perpetual status of inferiority in an expanded
British Parliament or new imperial one?
Lord Norton en2/
quired, as had Lord Blachford,
whether a full exchange of
correspondence on common concerns did not constitute the
best unity, whereas federation would drive the colonies, by
their very "Englishness", to independence in protest against
a subversion of their autonomy.
Another writer held that
the greatest danger lay in the nomenclature of the new move4/
The experienced Marquis of L o m e , former GovernorGeneral of Canada, advised more caution in dealing with im­
perial questions.
In his opinion the real safeguard against
disunion lay in helping local wants.
" We must recognize the
necessity for the full growth of each country comprised in the
great union in accordance with each country^ own idea of what
is best.
l/"Imperial federation, its impossibility.1* 19th Century .XVI
(1884), 515. Formerly Sir Charles B, Adderley, friend of Can­
adian federation during the negotiations of 1866,
2/"The integrity of the British Empire." ibid.. II (1877),365.
B, wa8- underseeretary of State for the Colonies, 1860—71.
3/ibj®TVpT5l6; also Bury,Vis count. "Unity of the empire." ibid.,
XVII % 1885), 381-96.
4/Thring,Sir H. "The fallacy of imperial federation." ibid.,XIX
(1886), 22-34.
5/Lorne,Marquis of. Imperial federatlon(1885),p.!26; and his
"Unity of the empire ." 19th Century , XVII (1885), 397-404.
Criticism did not forestall the report
of the provisional committee given at the autumn confer­
ence at the Westminster Palace Hotel on November 18, 1884.
Here the Imperial Federation league was formally establish­
ed under that name, its membership open to any British sub­
ject at a yearly registration fee of one shilling.
monthly periodical, Imperial Federation« was founded in
January, 1886.
Branches were to be organized throughout
the Empire, and an annual general meeting held in London.
Shortly thereafter the London Times reported a dinner given
by the Empire Club for Sir John A. Macdonald, quoting him
as favouring closer cooperation but rejecting an imperial
parliament as impractical. He stated, to loud cheers, that
the existing sentiment was so strong that Canada would remain
in the Empire by choice, federation or no.
Sir Charles Tup-
per thought it indiscreet to join the Imperial Federation
League in view of his official capacity, but his
terest was well-known.
lively in­
He took occasion to send copies of
the conference Reports of July and November to the Secretary
of State for the Colonies,
and consistently furnished public
officials with press cuttings of federatlonist activities.
1/The Time s . Nov .27 .1884.
2/G-. series. Letters Received HiRh Commissioner. 1884.
No. 11017
The centre of gravity of the Imperial
Federation League was in London, but colonial influence
developed an important subsidiary point in Canada.
original branch in that dominion was established at Mont­
real on May 9, 1885, at a meeting attended by eleven Sena­
tors, forty-six members of the House of Commons, and sixtyi
four other prominent citizens.
Forty-one letters and mes1/
sages were received and acknowledged.
Resolutions were
| adopted accepting those passed at the London conference the
previous July 29, together with the resolution, "That a
Canadian branch of the League be now formed, to be called
The Imperial Federation League in Canada. and that the obj
ject of the League In Canada shall be to promote the discus-
sion of means whereby the permanent unity of the Empire may
!j be maintained, and its practical efficiency increased, to
further the development and interchange of the resources of
!■ its various parts, and to resist any measures tending to disji
j integration."
Membership was open to any British subject
j paying the annual dollar fee, and a general yearly meeting was
1 to be held in one of the principal cities.
The General Com-
j mittee, directors of the affairs of the League, were Dalton
| McCarthy of Toronto, President; Archibald McGoun,Jr. of Mont| real and J. H. Bowes of Toronto. Secretaries; and Henry H . Ly1/Imperial Federation League in Canada. Report of the first meet
lngs of the League in Canada, held in Montreal, Saturday, 9th
May. 1885. (Montreal,1885).
man of Montreal, Treasurer.
A public meeting was held
that evening in Queen's Hall, Montreal, where an attend­
ance of between seven and eight hundred heard
by twenty of the chief promoters.
Propaganda for imperial unity was not
new in Canada.
The United Empire Loyalist tradition had
been strong ever since the days of their great migration.
Even the "Canada First" movement, expressive of Canadian
preoccupation with national development, coupled imperial
and national ambitions in the first plank of its platform:
"British connection, consolidation of the Empire, and in
the meantime a voice in treaties affecting Canada."
tenant-Colonel G-eorge T. Denison
count of the group.
has given a partial ac-
Matured in the military profession,
there was about him a quality of drive and leadership
made him impatient of platitudes and
er after practical achievements.
anda seek­
Bitterly anti-American,
Denison was always ready to support his pro-imperial policy
l/Denslon.G-.T. Struggle for imperial unity I~1909),p.59*
2/ln ibid. This is a book which must be used with caution. The
continuity is poor and there are also violent prejudices which
distort the facts. Historical movements and events are unduly
simplified, and one has the feeling that history is being drawn
upon to furnish illustrations. Banquet speeches and press com­
ment fill many pages, and the author is very much the centre of
the drama throughout. But the volume is important outlining as
it does the objects and methods of a predominant figure of the
era and movement.
Of considerable historical and military value were his
Fenian raid on Fort Erie (Toronto,1886), Soldiering in Canada
(Toronto ,1906T, and several histories of cavalry. He also pub­
lished Recollections of a police magistrate (Toronto,1920), re­
ferring to the post in which he did pioneer work at Toronto,
1877 to 1923.
with exhortations about the American menace.
This bias
coloured his role as a founder of the Canada First Party,
as president of the Imperial Federation League in Canada
and, after its reorganization as the British Empire League,
still its president.
In his recollections, the Canada
First Party's agitation for the acquisition of the Hudson's
Bay Company's territory, its part in combating the Red River
rebellion and Its opposition to the Irish Nationalists are so
treated as to emphasize the early Imperial sentiment of the
He explains the party's abortive political appearance
in 1872-3 on the grounds that Mr. W.H. Howland presided and
apoke at the first public meeting, December 6, 1873*
Denison notes with some horror that Howland's father had been
an American citizen and "had only settled in Canada some four1/
teen years before W.H, Howland was born."
Although hfei brief
speech may have been inappropriate, Denison seemed to feel
that it more than counterbalanced the other addresses and the
platform headed by the slogan, "British connection, consolida­
tion of the Empire."
He wrote* " I believe he did not speak
for more than fifteen or twenty minutes, but in that time he
had practically killed the movement as a political organisation."
Indeed, so congenial to hi-s pre-judA-ee^ did it promise to become
that Mr. Goldwin Smith,
who cherished the illusion that its
goal was independence, became a member I
3/See his Canada and the Canadian question (1891), ch.10.
Mr, Smith and Colonel Denison crossed
swords on more than one occasion, the implication on Deni­
son’s part being that their controversy might not always
be confined to verbal disagreement.
At a National Club
meeting where Smith proposed they discuss the alternatives
of annexation or independence, Denison refused to consider
either and said that if it ever became a serious question,
he would argue in only one way, on horseback and with his
G-oldwin Smith took his revenge in literary fash­
ion, writing: "in Canada we have some curious remnants of
the idea, dominant everywhere in days gone by, and still
dominant in Islam, that intolerance on certain questions
is a duty and a virtue.
The good St. Louis of France used
to say that he would never argue with a heretic who doubted
Papal doctrine, but give him six inches of cold steel; and
we have lately been told that among ourselves there are ques
tions which are to be debated only sword in hand,"
It seems strange that Colonel Denison
was not among the enthusiastic founders of the Imperial Fed­
eration League in Canada when it was organized in 1885-
year later he refused membership on the grounds that, taking
a leaf out of Tupperfs book, Canada having just spent $150,
on the Canadian Pacific Railway required some years
of steady development before undertaking further large scale
expenditures for imperial defence which he regarded as the
1/Denison, op,cit..p.65.
main object of the League in England.
By 1887 only half a dozen new branches
had been founded and only one of them, that at Halifax, sup­
ported by Archbishop 0*Brien, was really flourishing. Thus,
the League had not made much impression upon the nation, un­
til the appearance in 1887 of an external threat. The movei/
ment for commercial union with the United States
a vigorous opposition which fired the League to great activ­
ity and prominence. In the meantime, however, other events
claimed public attention. These, if not always the products
of the League, were none the less fraught with imperial sig­
nificance .
The actual founding of an Imperial Federa­
tion League stimulated the launching of a series of plans for
the attainment of that permanent unity which was its watch­
On November 18, 1884, the very day of the formal or­
ganization of the League in England, Archibald McG-oun, pro­
fessor of law, gave an address at McGill University on ,fThe
Federation of the Empire.n
Mr. McGoun held that a national
partnership could be effected which would preserve both the
integrity of the Empire and the autonomy of its components.
His delineation of contemporary political feeling on the is­
sue is particularly valuable;
1/See below, ch.3.
2/published as a pamphlet. Montreal, 1884.
*..This is the conviction entertained
by those whom I may name the British school,
at whose head may be placed Sir A.T.G-alt(■*)
and Principal Grant (**) of Kingston. And it
is a significant fact that one who, like Sir
A.T. Galt, has always held strong views on the
necessity of full national powers for Canada,
should have come to the conclusion that these
can be best obtained by a consolidation of the
Empire. Mr. Blake (*&*) has also several times
spoken in favour of Imperial Federation. This
will be the historical successor of the politi­
cal school of the departed statesmen, Joseph
Howe, Robert Baldwin and George Brown.... Mr.
Mackenzie and Mr.Mowat represent the same prin­
ciple among the Liberals to today, while the
whole political life of Sir John Macdonald and
of Sir Charles Tupper have been faithful to it
throughout. 1/
It is not necessary to detail the num­
erous points in McGoun’s proposal, but onlj to describe its
An imperial parliament of two houses repre-
sentative of the Empire
would assume legislative powers
on Imperial and foreign affairs.
A continuity with the old
British Parliament would remain through a sort of"apostolic
while that Parliament would continue its leg­
islation for the United Kingdom just as the colonial legis­
latures would retain their internal autonomy.
The Austral­
ian colonies or their federated commonwealth (already pro­
South Africa and other colonies might be brought in;
4fc/First Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
*-*/0f Queen’s University.
•*#"}f-/Canadian leader of the Liberal opposition In the House,
1879-87; sometime British member of Parliament.
l/McGoun,A. Federation of the empire (1884), p.5.
Macdonald and Tupper were among the "Fathers" of Canadian con­
federation. The fame of Howe and Baldwin is associated with the
winning of responsible government.
2/Upper house representing all parts In proportion to contribu­
tions to imperial revenue; lower representing the self-govern­
ing parts on basis of relative population.
3/Dewey,A.G. The Dominions and diplomacy; the Canadian contribu­
tion^ (1929). I, 74.
t&& status of India, however, would remain for the present
under United Kingdom direction.
The plan was less ex­
plicit as to an imperial cabinet and a federal court for
constitutional cases.
But McG-oun was very explicit when
he said, " I believe it has come to this,
that an Imper­
ial Federation must at the outset be accompanied with an
Imperial Customs Union.”
Thomas Macfarlane, noted Dominion
scientist, proposed a unicameral imperial Senate to be
formed by a reconstruction of the House of Lords.
other Canadian, David A. Ansell, in a paper read before
the Montreal branch of the Imperial Federation League,
there were no insurmountable obstacles which trusted
representatives could not be depended upon to solve.
action would do more than "miles of pamphlets and years of
vand would enable
the colonies to "offer to
give back to England the benefit of the civilization she
has enabled us to attain. ..and offer her, when need be, some
portion of the protection she has hitherto afforded us."
From New Zealand came a lengthy memorandum by Sir Julius
Vogel, K.C.M.G., on "The Federation of the British Empire,"
which had been presented to both houses of Parliament by
1/McGoun.op .cit..p .2%^
2/A united empire.(address before Montreal branch of the I.F.L.,
Dec.21,1885). (1885).
3/November 23, 1886.
4/WeIdlng the links of union (1886), p.5.
1 /
command, of Her Majesty.
As we are here primarily concerned
with the history of federation from the Canadian point of
view, suffice it to say that Sir Julius proposed colonial
elective representation in the existing British, or as it
is sometimes called, "imperial" Parliament.
The plan had
the merit of good presentation and was widely debated around
the Empire.
Among influential English publications
of the same year were those of W.E. Forster, Chairman of the
parent Imperial Federation League.
These articles
less an endorsement of any pet scheme of federation than a
running survey of all in a style to evoke popular sympathy
and interest.
In respect to an Imperial parliament with
subordinate parliaments, Forster,while of the opinion that
such might be the ultimate form of federation, regarded
any current attempt to establish it as premature.
As a
working arrangement he went on to suggest that the colonies
empower their agents to confer with Her Majesty’s ministers
in the United Kingdom, with the understanding that the col­
onial governments would not be committed to any course until
they were informed and had approved.
No cabinet would in
future allow "either Foreign Office etiquette or Colonial
Office traditions"
vto make
it possible for the imperial
l/Cr series. Despatches from Secretary of State for the Colon­
ies . II. 1885. C.4-521. Enclosure.
2/lmperial federation.(reprint from 19th Century for February
and March,1885). (T885).
V lbld.,p.23>
government to accept undertakings seriously affecting the
self-governing colonies without previous consultation with
their representatives.
Mr. Forster, we may observe, made
a point of gathering all information possible about the
several plans for imperial federation.
As early as 1884-
Sir Charles Tupper had been convinced that a substantial
tariff preference was the method most likely to succeed.
This belief he communicated to Forster, and the latter, al­
though considering himself a free trader, indicated his
willingness to adopt such a policy in view of its purpose.
In continuing their correspondence, Forster asked Tupper in
1885 about Canadian defence expenditures, as a part of his
policy of gathering information.
The lead taken by this
prominent Liberal in making the Imperial Federation League
politically potent, indicates the gravitation of his party
to a vital interest in empire.
Mention has been made of the influence
of certain writers, notably Sir John R. Seeley.
Great at­
tention, therefore, was given his paper on "The Objects t4
be Gained by the Federation of the Empire,"
which was
read at the annual conference of the Imperial Federation
League in London, July 1, 1886.
v Professor
Seeley, in the
brief time allotted for his introductory address, sought
to repudiate the fallacy that the Empire could not endure.
l/Tupper.op .cit..p.247.
2/Tupper Papers.II. No.231. Forster to T., Jan.11,1885.
3/Published under this full title, n.p. n.d.
4/Sir Sandford Fleming was the Canadian delegate.
In comparing it to the military empires of history or
even those of the eighteenth century, one must see, he
said, that the revolution in transportation and communi­
cations had made the relationship quite different. As to
the complaint that the colonies would be involved in Brit­
ish wars, Seeley probed the historical record only to find
that the consistent cause of war had been the colonial
empire itself.
He urged deliberation rather than haste,
but advised against overlong delay and an intermittent in­
terest which could achieve nothing.
There is a relative absence of refer­
ences to imperial federation in Canadian parliamentary dis­
cussion for the period before the incidence of commercial
union or imperial preference.
This ommlsslon stresses its
unofficial character at that early stage.
But it was a
popular subject, from time to time, with which the opposi­
tion might bait the government.
Thus, answering an enquiry
in the House in February, 1885, the Secretary of State,
J.A.Chapleau, stated that no correspondence had taken place
between the government and the High Commissioner or Colonial
Secretary on the subject of Imperial federation.
In response
to the further question whether the government intended to
submit any federation proposal to the House that session,
Sir John Macdonald tersely replied: flIt is not the intention."
1/DebatesV House of Commons. 3rd session, 5th Pari.
p.51; Feb.6,1885.
Early in 1885 the state of affairs
in the Soudan brought prompt offers of military assis1/
tance from Australasia and from certain Canadian officers.
These offers occasioned enthusiastic communications from the
Colonial Secretary, Lord Derby,
the Imperial Federation
League in London,
and the Royal Colonial Institute.
question of imperial defence was one of the main points of
dissension in the several federation plans and this instance
affords a good example of the type of situation likely to
The Canadian offers mentioned above were privately
made, but received and appreciated as those of the Canadian
It so happened that the government was not at
all in agreement with the "spasmodic offers of our Militia
Colonels, anxious for excitement or notoriety," as Sir John
Macdonald put it.
He stated his opinion most candidly
in a letter to Sir Charles Tupper:
1/Official in the case of Australia and New Zealand, but priv­
ate offers from Canada. Four hundred Canadian voyageurs escoirted Wolseley up the Nile.
2/G- series. Despatches from Secretary; of State for the Colonies.
18557 Vol.I. Canada, No.33; Lord Derby to Governor-General,the
Marquis of Lansdowne, Feb.24, 1885*
3/G series. Letters Received High Commissioner.1885. Feb.25,1885.
Enclosed (to Sir Charles Tupper to be forwarded).
4/ibid. 861 on 4133: Mar.11,1885. Copy.
5/Fope ,o]D.cit., p. 338; Sir John to Sir Charles Tupper, Mar. 12,
...We do not stand at all In the
same position as Australasia. The Suez
Canal is nothing to us, and we do not
ask England to quarrel with France or
Germany for our/ sake s. The offer of
those Colonies is a good move on their
part, and somewhat like Cavour's send­
ing Sardinian troops to the Crimea. Why
should we waste money and men in this
wretched business? England is not at war,
but merely helping the Khedive to put
down an insurrection, and now that Gor­
don is gone, the motive of aiding in the
rescue of our countrymen is gone with him.
Our men and money would therefore be sac­
rificed to get Gladstone and Co. out of
the hole they have plunged themselves into
by their own imbecility. 1/
There was the possibility of further trouble with the Fen-
ians or perhaps with Russia,
and the Prime Minister re­
garded these threats to Canadian soil more seriously. Sir
Charles lamented to his chief that Canada had not taken
the matter up with more warmth,
for he feared a reaction
in British public opinion if the appearance of indifference
were given.
However, the rebellion in the northwest in­
tervened just then to require the national arms, and end­
ed the possibility of participation or of opprobrium.
Sir Charles*s enthusiasm for imperial
cooperation did not extend to relegation of the colonies
to an Inferior position. In 1886 Canad^had promised a
contribution of £20,000 to the Imperial Institute of the
Colonies and India, which the Prince of Wales had suggested
should be founded as a memorial of Queen Victoria's Jubilee
When plans for the exhibition were changed so drastically
2/Tuffper Papers.II. No.241. Sir John to
3/The government was willing to sanction
take the responsibility of raising and
onial force.
4/Saunders,op.cit.,p.49; T. to Sir John.
T.,private; Mar.17,1885.
recruiting, but not to
equiping a separate col­
as to omit, the colonies and India from the name of the
Institute and, in the display, to threaten the complete
overshadowing of colonial products and industries by
those of the mother country, Tupper led the successful
protest which eventually won an acceptable arrangement.
In November, 1886, the editor of the
League organ, Imperial Federation, wrote to Sir Charles
requesting an article, but he declined because "as the
High Commissioner for Canada I am unable to speak; with
any authority except when I can do so with the sanction
of my government; and, as you are aware, it has not yet
taken any action upon this subject for my guidance.”
reply, however, contained a frank statement of his per­
sonal views.
Sir Charles stated that he could see no pos­
sibility of a parliamentary federation because the creation
of a supreme parliament was unacceptable both in Great
Britain and in the colonies.
In answer to the British pro­
posal for a tax on the colonies to ensure their contribu­
tion to imperial defence, Tupper pointed out that in addi­
tion to their militias, the autonomous colonies were doing
signal service to the Empire in opening their vast lands
to a colonization which meant the construction of vast
British communities and an expanded British trade. He lauded
l/Tupper Papers.II. No.315. T. to Lord Carnarvon, N o v . 26,1886.
See also No s. 319 A 3 2 0 , 322,336,337.
2/ibid. No.316. T. to editor of Imperial Federation. Dec.3,1886.
Canada*s transcontinental railway as a great imperial high­
way, significant not only for Canadian trade but as an east­
ern route on which Britain might one day need to rely. Sir
Charles assumed that Australasia and South Africa would soon
be federal nations and, looking ahead, proposed that the fi­
nancial ministers of the Dominions together with the Chan­
cellor of the Exchequer could arrange a fiscal policy , per­
haps a double column tariff, to give a fair exchange of mut­
ual advantages within the Empire,
He made the further sug­
gestion that the official representatives of the colonies in
Great Britain might hold such rank as to entitle them to be
called into the cabinet for consultation on general imper­
ial questions. Indeed, Tupper*s interest in the cause was
most lively. He frequently sent cuttings to the Canadian gov­
ernment and to the office of the Governor-General, to satisfy
his desire that the progress of imperial federation should be
well known.
The imperial value of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the recognition thereof
ed by
was now supplement­
a new but similar development. Before Sir Charles left
England in January, 1887, to$
the Canadian government,
become Finance Minister in
he had been pressing on Mr. Gosehen,
Chancellor of the Exchequer, a plan for subsidizing a line of
1/a agrlfts. Potters Received High Commissioner. 1885.
3918 on
11.25. Oct.21,1885, and enclosed clipping of address by the
Marquis of Salisbury.
2/ibid. Royal Colonial Institute to Sir Charles Tupper. Nov.17,
1885, and Enclosure.
steamships to operate between Vancouver, Japan and Hong
His successor, Sir John Rose, took up these negot­
After Sir Charles's return to England, he re­
ceived an urgent cable from Sir George Stephen, dated July
23, in which he stated the immediate necessity of making a
contract if they were not to be forestalled by a San Franv*
cisco line operating in connection with the American rail1/
way system.
Although told by Rose that Goschen could not
be persuaded to approve a subsidy Tupper had a lengthy in­
terview with him which resulted in important correspondence.
In a letter of July 28th Tupper said that disappointment in
Canada would be great if the subsidy were not granted after
the encouragement held out by the Salisbury government. Per­
haps as a subtle hint Sir Charles added that he feared such
inaction would "be ultised by those who are, at this mo­
ment, advocating a commercial union between Canada and the
United States, which, in my judgment, threatens a serious
danger, not only to the best interests of Canada, but also
to the Empire.**
In his reply Mr. Goschen gave little hope
that Parliament would entertain the idea of binding Britain
to a further heavy subsidy, although hastening to say that
he did not mean to underestimate the value of such a route.
Regarding commercial union, he professed great concern and
replied with diplomatic skill:
1/Tupper Papers.III. No.340, and No.356. August 25,1885).
2/ibid. No.342.
..•I cannot help feeling that if
there is really a strong movement in Cana­
da in favor of such a commercial union, the
proposed subsidy to the Canadian Pacific
Railway could go but a little way to count­
eract it. And, on the other hand, your re­
mark fills me with some alarm as to the posi­
tion in which this country might be placed if,
after it had committed itself to a consider­
able subsidy to the Canadian Pacific, and that
not so much for postal as for general politi­
cal objects, the commercial union between Cana­
da and the United States should nevertheless,
in a short time, become an accomplsihed fact. 1/
Reviewing this correspondence some days
later, Sir John A. Macdonald wrote Tupper, "He has evident­
ly taken the allusion to 'Commercial Union1 as a sort of
threat and has rather cleverly met it. But the threat will
do no harm if it is communicated to the Cabinet. It will do
much good as Lord Salisbury won't want a Colonial discontent
on his hands just now."
In his reply to Mr. Goschen,
Sir Charles wrote that the former had apparently misunder­
stood his reference to the threat of commercial union. While
not implying that it was imminent, and being sure that the
friends of the British connection could maintain it, yet
"nothing would paralyze them so much as supposed indiffer­
ence on this question of commercial union on the part of Her
Majesty's G o v e r n m e n t T h u s Tupper,too, rather cleverly
met the Chancellor's query.
With regard to the Chancellor's
objection to the heavy subsidy, Tupper pointed out that a
reading of the Parliamentary debate referred to in his let1/Tupper PapersT. III. No.3 ^ 4 . Aug.8,1887.
2/ibid. N o .354. Aug.24,1887.
3/lbid. No.34-5. Aug. 11,1887.
ter demonstrated that the chief obstacle to the contract
renewal for the old route was the favourable consideration
being given the Canadian one.
Of course one cannot estimate
from this the degree of influence exerted by Sir Charles’s
arguments; but within a few days a note from the Marquis of
Lorne intimated that success was prxtoable,
and by mid-
September G-oschen informed the High Commissioner that the
cabinet had approved the subsidy.
The Colonial Conference of 1887 estab­
lished a precedent which is a memorial to the imperiallyminded men who wanted to make of the Exhibition and Jubilee
something more than a pageant.
We have noted proposals
tending in this direction by W.E. Forster and Sir Charles
Forster on one occasion wrote, "it strikes me
that what we Federation people must now mainly aim at, is a
gathering at next year's exhibition
of leading Colonists
who agree with us."
The Earl of Rosebery was of the
opinion that if federation were possible in any form it
would develop from such conferences rather than through pri7/
vate organizations.
The idea of a gathering as suggested by
ibid. No.353. Aug.22,1887.
See above, p.27.
See above,p.33.
The Exhibition was made permanent as the Imperial Institute,
and a Department of Commercial and Industrial Intelligence
and other such services endeavoured to increase the informa­
tion and reliance upon resources of the countries of the Em­
pire .
6/ Tupper Papers.II. No.259* W.E.Forster to T. Aug.13,1885.
7/ Coates,T.F.G-. Lord Rosebery (1900), II, 741.
the Imperial Federation League
was quite congenial to
the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, the Colonial Secre­
tary, Lord Stanhope and his successor, Sir Henry Holland,
Accordingly, the Conference convened at the Colonial Of­
fice on April 4,
The British government played a very
cautious role at this meeting which It regarded as a
critical experiment.
It was especially careful not to
prejudice its success from the outset by placing the
highly factious topic of imperial federation on the offic
ial agenda.
Sympathetic interest was reaffirmed, but
Salisbury spoke of political federation as being in the
realm of ultimate rather than immediate possibility.
A month earlier in Canada the Execu­
tive Committee of the Imperial Federation League passed a
series of resolutions which it forwarded to the Canadian
government as subjects which should be discussed. These in­
cluded proposals for the completion of all-British telegraph­
ic cables and passenger transportation, a small uniform duty
on foreign imports and, most important;
That the self-governing countries
of the Empire should contribute upon an equit­
able basis in proportion to their national im­
portance , to the expense or organisation for
Imperial defence and should in some constitutional manner have a recognised voice in directing
the foreign policy of the Empire. 3/
l/Burt, .223.
2/Proceedings. C.5091, pp.5-7, his opening speech.
3/Macdonald Papers. Sessional Papers, 7, 1889. Imperial
Federation League in Canada. Resolutions passed at meeting
of the Executive Committee on the 5th March, 1887. (printed).
It was precisely the fear that such instructions had been
given that prompted a request that the House might see a
"Copy of the Commission or other document appointing Sir
Alexander Campbell as representative of Canada at the Col­
onial Conference in London and of any instructions given
him in such capacity."
Inasmuch as the public at large
had regarded the Conference as a sort of preliminary to a
discussion of imperial federation if not to action upon it,
the member presenting the request felt he was voicing their
desire to scan the instructions and to be assurred that their
representatives would take no steps beyond the powers dele­
The motion was carried and amended by Brime Minister
Macdonald to include all papers relating to the Conference.
But apparently all members were not yet satisfied.
On May 2
it was moved that copies of communications received from the
imperial government or its officers since the opening of the
Conference be tabled in the House.
The motive again was to
know what had been done or proposed with regard to schemes
of imperial federation. The general reaction was that it was
Canada's mission "to plant the foundations of our own Confed­
eration broad and deep, rather than to pursue the Will o' the
Wisp of an impracticable Imperial scheme.”
The motion was
agreed to, but Sir Charles Tupper and D'Alton McCarthy (Presi­
dent of the Imperial Federation League in Canada) did not ac­
cept the implied invitation to enlighten the House further on
l/Debates,House of CommonsT! 1st session,5th Pari. 1887. Vol.I,
p. 150* April 27, 1887.
the subject,
A promising note of frankness had been
sounded, however, in the words; "This is a new Parlia­
ment, Sir, and I do hope it will not be quite so timid
as other Parliaments have been in discussing questions
regarding the relation of Canada to the Empire, or the
relation of Canada to the whole world if necessary,"
The Canadian delegates, Sir Alexander
Campbell (Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario) and Sir Sandford Fleming (later President of the Ottawa branch of the
Imperial Federation League), were hardly representative
of a Canadian nationalist point of view, and they had no
French-Canadian colleague.
The Australasians were more
interested in coordinated defence plans, although Alfred
Deakin of Victoria was the best spokesman for colonial
The project offered by J.H.Hofmeyr of Cape
Colony including both defence and imperial preference, was
perhaps the most notable of the Conference.
The Canadians
declined to discuss his proposals; and the international
situation led to an emphasis on defence questions in which
Dominion representatives played little part.
Doubly se­
cure by sea through the British navy and the Monroe Doc­
trine the Canadians insisted that their training system
and the expensive completion of the Canadian Pacific Rail1/ibid...p.219.
2/jebb, R. Thfe imperial conference (1911).1.74.
way were imperial assets which proved her interest.
the matter of a tariff union it was the colonies who were
more eager than Britain to find a solution. But the total
effect of the Conference was hopeful. The exchange of
opinions on such questions, whatever their divergence, was
proof of a desire for unity and of willigness to work to­
gether in understanding each other's problems.
The Earl of Rosebery, now President of
the Imperial Federation League, regarded its task primar-
ily as one of creating public opinion, and when a popular
demand for federation should appear, "then will be out time
to retire Into the background, and then will be the time
for the statesmen to begin."
Lord. Rosebery had earlier
contemplated a visit to Canada which was urged upon him
by the federatlonists, They hoped that his known aversion
to coercive federation would allay the fear that any risk
to Canadian autonomy was implied.
More than such assur-
ranees would be required, however, to assauge the suspic-
ions of French-Canada, always fearful of a legislative union
in which her cultural and political distinctions would be
A revival of that fear always brought a new
retreat to provincialism as was shown in the following quo-
ll/proceedlngs. C.5091. p .51^.
12/Speech by the Earl of Rosebery, Edinburgh, October 31.1888.
| Edinburgh and East of Scotland Branch,I .F.L. (reprint from
^Imperial Federation. 1888), p.11.
3/The 'Empire, Toronto; May 11,1888.
Federation Imperiale et Union Legis­
lative, telle est la devise du parti tory
pendard, la devise contra laquelle nous
devons combattre.
La revindication des droits des pro­
vinces, qui est inscrite en ti'te du programme
national est I 1instrument le plus puissant de
lutte contre ces attentats odieux a notre
nationality. 1/
Traditionally Liberal, the French-Canadian press printed
in Juxtaposition quotations from Sir John Macdonald and
Edward Blake regarding Canadian obligations in war, throw­
ing the weight of its opinion against the Conservatives
and behind Mr* Blake's opposition to " 'repandre notre
sang et nos deniers pour 1'execution des pro jets de jingo.
Quebec, disowned by old France and in turn disowning the
atheistic Third Republic, has always clung to the British
constitutional guarantees embodied in the British North
America Act of 1867, and opposed any tide which might sweep
her into the American orbit or by a closer federation sub­
ject her to the will of the Anglo-Canadians*
The Toronto Globe, chief Liberal organ
of English-speaking Canada, also delimited in editorial
warnings against imperial federation.
Despite these ob­
jections, the propaganda federation proceeded and began to
make use of the commercial union threat.
Prominent fed-
erationlsts travelling about the country were invited to
visit outlying cities and encourage their young branches
of the League.
Sir John Macdonald who had played so im­
portant a part in the establishment of tie Canadian Con1/La Patrie.Montreal, May 2,1888. Editorial.
2/ibid. Aug.22,1888. Editorial.
3/March 24,1888, is typical.
4/McCarthy Papers. C.J.Machin (Chairman Port Arthur branch,
I.F.L. to M. April 11 and July 29,1889; and ibid. F.H. Turnock of Winnipeg to M., July 17 and Sept.17,1889.
federation in 1867, was fond of dilating upon the oppor­
tunity lost by the British government at that time. This
might not have occurred, he wrote the Colonial Secretary,
Lord Knutsford in 1889, had Lord Carnarvon remained in of­
fice as Colonial Secretary.
His successors had treated the
act much as a bill uniting two or thee English parishes,
and overlooked the chance to declare Canada an auxiliary
kingdom, and so make its status clear.
In view of the wide difference of
opinion in Canada, it is obvious that those who were at
once imperial federationists and Dominion statesmen had
to bend every effort to walk the chalk-line of discretion.
An occasional deviation was scarcely to be avoided, but
certainly to be lamented.
On June 22, 1889, speaking at
the annual dinner of the Imperial Federation League of
which he was not yet a member, Sir Charles said that he
doubted whether the League could continue to hold public
interest unless it advanced some practical program for ob­
taining its proclaimed goal of Empire unity.
He therefore
made the suggestion that the Imperial government call a
conference of representatives of the self-governing colon­
ies to take such action, adding that in his own opinion it
would be found that "the adoption of a policy of mutual pref­
erential trade between G-reat Britain and the colonies would
provide the tie of mutual self-interest in addition to the
! 1/Pope.op.clt.,p.451; July 18,1889.
purely sentimental Pond which now exists.”
Sir John
Macdonald wrote that this speech had had an electrical
effect at home, especially in Quebec where the reports
of the English press which insisted Tupper had spoken
for the Canadian government had aroused latent suspic­
The Prime Minister urged Sir Charles to overlook
no opportunity to make it known that the views he had ex­
pressed were his own and not those oft the High Commissioner
representing Canada.
Sir Charles was much surprised by
this report of the feeling in Canada and sent his chief a
detailed account of all his proceedings in connection with
imperial federation, emphasizing the fact that not only had
he expressly disclaimed speaking in any official capacity,
but that Lord Rosebery w!io had presented him ito the League
Council had so prefaced his introduction, and much of the
press correctly reported it.
Tupper added*
...You are aware of the fact that al­
though you and two other members of the Gov­
ernment are on the Council of the I.F.L., I
have stood somewhat aloof. I have not dis­
guised the opinion that the difficulties in
the way of a Parliamentary Federation were
insuperable. I have seen for some time that
the movement was taking the shape of imposing
a charge upon the Colonies for the support of
the Army and Navy of England, and I thought
I was doing good service to Canada when at the
annual banquet of the League I pointed to the
fact that our loyalty required no stimulus;
that we were discharging our duty to the Em­
pire by contributing to its defence in the
2/Tupper Papers.III. No.450. Aug.14,1889.
5/ibid. No.451. Sept.l3jrf, 1889.
most effective manner, and that the
reason that the cause of Imperial Fed­
eration excited so little interest with
the Government and people of Canada was
that Canada was perfectly satisfied with
the constitution she now possessed. 1/
To his son Sir Charles wrote more free­
...If Canada and its Government were to en­
dorse the action I have taken they would have
a policy to pit against unrestricted recip­
rocity which would sweep the country and di­
vert attention from the Jesuit question (-*)
and within five years it would have "been ac­
complished and Canada would be rapidly ad­
vanced to a strong national po/sition. I have
been astonished at the reception of my pro­
posal here, and regret to see such an oppor­
tunity thrown away. There was everything in
its favor and nothing per contra. It carried
all the friends of Imperial Federation and
could not but be most acceptable to the French
as it avoided any constitutional change.... I
cannot understand the failure in Canada to ap­
preciate the real position of this question.
I propounded this policy In the House of Com­
mons with the approval of the whole party when
we were in opposition. Sir J.A.Macdonald, Til
ley and I submitted it to the Colonial Minis­
ter in 1879, and it is just what the party and
country require at this moment. I am puzzled
beyond measure to understand where the objec­
tion comes from....2/
Macdonald replied in moderate tone, saying Tupper had taken
the matter much too seriously; and that although the "Que­
becers” had feared the proposed conference would discuss
alteration of the British North America Act, a reading of
his letters in council had pretty well dispelled this apprehension.
i 1/lbid.
i #/Jesuit Estates Act of 1888.
2/ibid* N o .452. Sept.14,1889.
3/ibid. No .454. Sept.28,1889.
Another important result of federationist activity and of the Colonial Conference as well as of
expanding commercial nationalism was the increasing inter­
est of the colonies in each othhr.
In April, 1888, the
Ottawa "branch of the Imperial Federation League memorialized
the Governor-General on the subject of social and commerc­
ial relations with Australasia, suggesting a Canadian invi­
tation to those colonies to attend a conference for the dev1/
elopment of reciprocal trade.
Mr. Arthur H. Loring, ac2/
tive federationist in England,
sent his congratulations
to Sir Sandford Fleming, new president of the Ottawa branch,
and encouraged this move as a step toward commercial union
of the Empire.
The Halifax branch, always a flourishing
made a similar petition.
t?he invitations were ac­
cordingly sent out with the cognizance and interest of the
Colonial Office.
The Australasian colonies were unanimous
in their interest, but equally unanimous in believing that
Canada could better afford to send debgates "down under" than
i/Fleming Papers. Vol.22. Memorial of the Ottawa branch of I.F.L.
to Governor-General, April, 1888, (in corrected draft form, in
the hand of Sir Sandford, I believe).
2/Later president of the Imperial Federation (Defence) Committee.
3/Fleming Papers. Vol.22. May 18,1888* similar letter to D*Alton
McCarthy in McCarthy Papers. June 24,1889.
4/An ex-Lieutenant-Governor was their Chairman; an Archbishop,
Bishop and Chief Justice their Vice-Chairmen I
5/G series . Despatches from Secretary of State for Colonies.
Nos.119-253* Vol.II. 1888. Canada, No.l59.
6/ibid. Nos.254-341. 1888. Canada, No.333. Colonial Secretary,
Lord Knutsford, to Governor General, Lord Stanley of Breston,
could their more numerous delegations make the trip to
Thus, plans had to be suspended for the time
being, but a Canadian Minute of the Privy Council (Jan­
uary 13,1890) expressed the hope that such a conference
might be held the next spring*
The only contact between
Canada and Australasia which materialized in 1889 was the
visit of George R. Parkin of New Brunswick on behalf of the
Imperial Federation League.
Parkin, after a bleak and precarious
early career in his home province, was able to spend a
year at Oxford where he became one of a brilliant group
at Balliol led by Asquith, Milner and Raleigh*
In a Un­
ion debate on imperial federation he scored a triumph over
His subsequent teaching experiences in New Bruns­
wick were none too successful, but he later became a great
educator at Upper Canada College, Toronto, as an administrat­
or of the Rhodes Trust. Throughout his career he won atten­
tion by his single-minded devotion to imperial federation and
VQ: series *
Letters Received * 500-799. 1889 •
Reg.579lr- F. Napier Browne, Western Australia, Mar.25,1889,
to Lord Stanley.
Reg.552-|-- N.G.C. Hamilton,Tasmania, Mar.5,1889, to Lord Stanley.
Reg.539— Henry N. Loch (?J , Victoria, Feb.21,1889, to Lord
Stanley, and enclosure
memorandum of Premier D.
Gillies of Victoria, May 3,1890 (contained in Letters
Received. 1100-1399. 1890-1; Reg.1124 (enclosure).
Reg*538— Lord Carrington, New South Wales, Feb.21,1889, to
Lord Stanley•
2/G series . Drafts of Despatches from Gover nor-Genera1 to Secreof State for Colonles. 1889-90. Draft No.13; Lord Stanley of
Preston to Colonial Secretary Lord Knutsford, Jan.27,1890.
3/Willison,Sir J. Sir George Parkin (1929), p.32.
his conviction of the spiritual mission of the British
English officials of the Imperial Federation
League pressed upon him a mission to Australasia which he
undertook in 1889*
Finding mingled indifference and en­
thusiasm and no little suspicion, he was able to aid the
rising imperial sentiment against a narrow provincialism,
and to establish many permanent contacts.
His tour in­
cluded lectures in Auckland, Christchurch, Lyttleton, Sydney,
Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and in Tasmania; and many
new Imperial Federation League branches were formed in /his
It is curious that from this cautious reception
sprang a reaction which ripened into concrete proposals
from Australasia, and seemed to increase in proportion as
Canada turned her back upon federalism.
Simultaneously with these rather spas­
modic imperial events, Canada was the scene of a pitched
battle between the proponents of commercial union with the
United States and the imperial federationists -- an Issue
which has now to be traced from its origin to the dramatic
denouement in 1891*
1/See ibid., chT4, for a full account of the meetings.
The century and more of peace between
two continental North American neighbours is a frequent
rhetorical cliche^ which conceals the many conflicts of
policy and essentials difference in outlook* Much is heard
of American economic penetration in Hispanic America, but
the spectre of economic and even political absorption as it
appears to the Canadian mind is not widely recognized in
the former country* ”G-ood neighbours” they may now be, but the
weaker cannot immediately cancel the memory of many exhibi­
tions of sentiment in direct anithesis to good neighbourli­
Reprisals against Loyalists, efforts to conquer Canada
in the Revolution and again in 1812, Fenian influence in the
United States, the mounting tariff and other issues growing
out of the war between the states, are typical.
such exhibition was in connection with the commercial union
movement of the years 1886-91#
There had been earlier and
were to be later proposals for a Zollverein or other com­
mercial arrangement adapted to fit the complementary econ­
omic relationship of the two countries, but their political
implications were perhaps more forcibly in evidence here
than on these other occasions.
It is not charged that the
United States government deliberately fostered this hostile
propaganda threat, but the temper of administration offic-
ials, Senate and influential
private citizens made in­
evitable the effect aroused in Canada.
The Elgin-Marcy Reciprocity Treaty
of 185^- had been brusquely terminated by the United States
in I865 in the hostile mood which followed the Civil War.
Canada had prospered during that war and speculative in-
vestment in her development was building a “bubble11 prosper-
Renewed American competition, the panic of 1873, and
Mackenzie*s Liberal regime (1873-3) which endorsed free
trade and withdrew effective protection to Canadian indust-
ry combined to reverse the Dominion’s economic situation.
With the return of the Macdonald Conservative government a
protection policy was enacted in 1879, in the nick of time
so its proponents thought, to prevent commercial annexation
to the United States with political annexation to follow.
Duties were raised to increase revenue and escape from the
position in which from about 1874- “Canada experienced the
consequence of being only permitted to buy, and unable to
sell, while her comparatively open market was eagerly sought
as an outlet for the surplus of American fields and factor3/
The degree of protection enacted upon British manu-
factures was for revenue rather than for exclusion and the
Canadian government was willing to arrange with the British
__ ______________ ________________________
|| 1/He retained a small protective rate and was not really a free
I trader except in policy; but under the new conditions this
I schedule was less effective than the previous lower one. (Mac! lean,J. Protection in Canada ll879| , pp.9-10).
! 2/ibid.,p.27.
3/Macdonald Papers. Miscell. Pt.2. Undated (1379] confidential
memorandum, signed by John A. Macdonald, S.L.Tilley, and Sir
Charles Tupper
apparently to the imperial government.
government to give a distinct trade advantage to the lat­
ter as against foreign countries.
Canadian aspirations
for full economic development rather than a quiescent con­
tinuance as the agricultural complement of industrial
America or Britain were unappreciated in both those coun­
The Conservative "National Policy1*
was designed to promote the all-round development of the
country with federal aid alike to industry and to agri­
The Dominion had no intention of binding her­
self to remain a satellite by adopting either reciprocity
on American terms or complete free trade on the English
As one Canadian put it;
This was then and still is the American idea of Reciprocity with Canada; it lies
at the bottom of all that our neighbours think
or say on thesubject, and whoever fails
grasp this important fact fails to understand
what they are driving at. Now this Ame’ican idea
of Reciprocity is utterlyrejected by the people
of Canada, to say that it is resented by them
would not be too strong an expression, and it
positively makes them angry to see it accepted
so thoroughly in England, as well as in the
United States.
Canada continued, however, to give certain American products
the same low tariffs of treaty times as a lead designed to
inspire reciprocal liberality. The gesture was futile, how­
ever, as successive Republican administrations continued to
oppose what they considered the folly of reciprocal trade
Other political issues had become in­
terwoven into that of the tariff•
There had been an American
effort to couple negotiations regarding the Alabama and other
claims with British withdrawal from the hemisphere, the sub­
sequent annexation of Canada being understood.
Grant and Secretary Fish abruptly decided to reverse policy and settle the claims separately,
but the fishery
clauses of the treaty could not be made permanent at that
In 1885 the last of the short-term fishery conven­
tions was abrogated by the United States and President
Cleveland asked Congress to approve the appointment of a
commission to negotiate a new treaty.
The President had
indicated his support of the Canadian desire to write re­
ciprocity measures into the new convention, but the Re­
publican Senate would not approve the resulting draft. In
the absence, then, of regulated fishing privileges,
number of seizures of American vessels occurred, further
complicating the international problem. Canada was willing
to negotiate a new treaty; it was American partisan and
intra-party turmoil which held up negotiations. Neverthe­
less, ^ such was the national disposition that a number of
retaliatory measures, especially the act of 1887, were
Introduced into Congress with the purpose of ending alto­
gether commercial intercourse between the countries.
l/Chamberlain.D.H. Charles Sumner and the treaty of Washington"
There were, of course, some Ameri­
cans who desired reciprocity without any political
connotations, and with application to Canada as well
as to Latin America. S.J. Ritchife, an Akron "business1/
man, wrote Prime Minister Macdonald that he had remon­
strated with Senator John Sherman because the latter*s
bill for closer commercial relations of the Americas ex2/
eluded Canada.
A Toronto editorial expressed the same
Ritchie stated his certainty that Congress,
even the Republicans, wanted reciprocity, but did not
believe it constitutionally possible to extend more
favourable relations to Canada than to Britain.
A large number of the members of
both Houses of our Congress share in this
same conclusion and it is almost impossible
to beat it out of their heads... I am sorry
to acknowledge that there is a degree of ighorance among our public men at Washington
about the commercial importance of Canada
and of her relations to the Mother Country,
that would be quite incomprehensible to you.
Many of them have stated to me within the last
three days that their position of opposition
to liberal trade relations with Canada was
wholly due to their lack of knowledge of the
extent and importance of the subject. 5/
That, at least, was no understatement I Ritchie conclud­
ed with the remark: "The plain truth is that the Adminis1/President of the Central Ontario Railway.
2/Macdonald Papers. Sessional Papers. VII. 1889. April 19,
1886; see also Ritchie’s letter to Sherman, March 29,1886.
5/The Empire. Toronto; Oct.4,1890.
4/lncluding Secretary of State Bayard, Senator Sherman, Chair­
man of Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Frye
of Maine and Congressman Butterworth of Ohio.
5/Macdonald Papers. Commercial Union. 1886-7* Ritchie to Sir
John. Dec .12,1886.
tration wants reciprocity, so does the Senate, at
least a large portion of it does, but they do not want
the Democratic President to have the credit off accomp1/
lishing it.11
But protection and reciprocity were
not the only causes for commercial unionism.
The com­
pletion in 1885 of the Canadian Pacific Railway, hailed
by Sir Charles Tupper as a great imperial highway of
communications and defence, stimulated financial inter­
ests in the United States to fear for their margin of
profits and to become aware of the implications of Can­
adian expansion and national development.
Senator Cullom
of Illinois was reported as saying in an interview that
he believed England was doing her best to build up Canada.
The interests of the countries were diametrically opposed,
he held.
"Sooner or later they will clash, and when they
do trouble will follow, for it is not in the nature of
things that we can live in harmony forever. When that time
comes Canada must either absorb the United States or we
must absorb Canada, and I leave it to you to judge which
of the two will be done."
2/The Empire. Toronto; Aug.9,1888.
As a step toward the absorption
of the competing nation the commercial union movement,
looking to peaceful annexation, was organized by Erastus Wiman.
He was born near Toronto and became manager
of R* G* Dun and*Company1s Commercial Agency in that
city in i860, and later New York manager and a partner*
He was also president of the Great North Western Tele­
graph Company which controlled most of the telegraph
lines in Canada.
Not legally an American citizen,
well-placed in the financial world, Wiman was in an es­
pecially advantageous position to lead the movement.
Colonel Denison believed he was backed by Gould finances
but admitted that proof was lacking.
Wiman's first
step was the organization of the Canadian Club of New
York, whose avowed purpose was the social one of wel-
coming Canadian visitors and residents to New York.
another gesture, Mr. Wiman made a civic donation to the
city of Toronto valued at $60,000.
After this prepara­
tion he came to Canada in the spring of 1887 and launched
his propaganda campaign.
Aided by the oratorical talents
of Goldwin Smith, Henry W. Darling (President of the Tor­
onto Board of Trade), Edward Farrer of the Toronto Globe,
and backed financially from across the line^
Wiman began
to propose Min the interests of Canada’* a commercial union
l/Denl son, ojo.cit.,p.82.
2/Wiman,E. The Canadian Club, its purpose and policy (N.Y.,1885).
between the Dominion and the United States.
The commer­
cial unionists were well-skilled in manipulating their
political bag of tricks.
In discussing commercial union
it is always necessary to distinguish between the Wimanites who sought personal gain and the annexation of Cana­
da and others in both countries who desired an honour­
able reciprocity.
Shortly before the general elections
of February, 1887, the Ottawa Free Press printed a ficti­
tious interview with Mr. Ritchie, representing him as
prophesying a Conservative defeat because of Macdonald1s
alleged opposition to reciprocity.
Mackenzie Bowell
sent the clipping to Mr. Ritchie and asked for informa­
tion about this report which was so much at variance with
his views expressed to Sir John personally and in correspondence.
Ritchie replied by wire and letter indig­
nantly denying any such interview or opinions, and aseum4/
ing it was "something for campaign purposes."
He re­
affirmed his high regard for Sir John and belief in his
victory In the elections.
This expectation was justified,
and the Conservative triumph was hailed by imperial federationists as a rebuff to a reciprocity which they feared was
not without political implications.
The election had
l7January 19,1887,
2/Minister of Customs.
5/Bowell Papers. IV. Correspondence. 1887. Jan.24,1887.
4/ibid. Jan.27,1887.
5/ibid. Jan.29,1887.
6/Pope,op.cit.. p.394; Secretary of State for War, W. H.Smith,
to Sir John, Feb.26, 1887.
revealed cooperation between Wiman and the Liberal lead­
er, Edward Blake, a compact which reached its height in
the next elections in 1891.
The commercial unionists did not
permit themselves any relaxation after this set-back.
Their political intrigues for a solid electoral line-up
were relayed to# the Prime Minister in the picturesque
letters of Sam.
[sic] Hughes, a printer of voters’s lists.
With numerous italics and an obvious sense of exultation
he revealed the schemes of the group who were ’’body and
bones for Annexation.
coated name.”
Commercial Union is only a sugar
Members of the Canadian Parliament were
supplied with circulars, articles and reports of speeches
in profusion as the propaganda work proceeded through the
Mr. Wiman as a member of the firm of Dun, Wiman
and Company had great influence over Canadian businessmen,
because it would have been serious for any merchant in ord­
inary circumstances to incur the hostility of the mercan­
tile agency on whose reports his credit so largely depend­
Wiman*s frequent speeches were published in pamphlet
form and widely distributed, urging commercial union, al-
ways arguing that it was essential for Canada’s welfare.
1/Macdonald Papers. Commercial Union" 1886-71 May 25,1887;
see also his letter of Aug.2,1887.
2/Consult his Commercial union between United States and Cana­
da (Toronto,1887), Commercial union with Canada from a Unit­
ed States point of view ("New~~York, 1887) , Perfect development
of Canada (New York,1887), Wlman-Edgar letters* series of
open letters(n.p. 1887), Fea sabilit.y of commercial union between United States and Canada (New York.1889). The greater
half of the continent (Toronto.1889) , What is the destiny of
Canada? TNew York,1889), and Facts and figures for farmers
The interest of American state and
local Chambers of Commerce was aroused
by speeches
such as those of G-oldwin Smith, now president of the
Commercial Union Club of Toronto, who told the Sew
York State Chamber of Commerce that Canadians wanted a
commercial union which would remove the internal oust2/
oms line and assimilate the seaboard tariffs, and even
contemplated revising their political destiny along lines
of an Anglo-Saxon reunion in North America.
The ex­
tent to which he could or could not speak for Canada must
be taken into consideration.
Having left England alleg­
ing lack of liberty for his intellectual concepts,
sought haven in the United States.
But a few years there
pleased him no better and he removed to Toronto, begin­
ning almost at once agitation for Canadian annexation to
the United States.
His real talent lay in literary ex­
pression but devoting it to a cause now become unpopular
with his countrymen at home and overseas, he himself par­
took of that unpopularity.
Canadian reaction to the commercial un­
ion campaign varied widely.
Thomas Shaw, Secretary of the
Permanent Central Farmers* Institute, speaking at Hamilton,
l/See resolutionof New York Chamber of Commerce, November 3,
1887, for the Investigation of commercial union*s possibili­
ties, in Macdonald Papers . Commercial Union,188,6-7.
2/Speech of Mr. Goldwin Smith, Chamber of Commerce of the State
of New York, Nov.20,1888 (1888), p.6.
Ontario, called it "the greatest possible material boon"
and urged Canadian farmers to organize under their own
leaders and refuse to accept any compromise,
Edward Far-
rer filled the columns of the Toronto Globe with the same
gospel and justified the proposed
common Canadian-American
tariff, on a commercial union basis, on grounds of the in­
justice to the States of Canada continuing to admit British
goods on the same terms as theirs,
Goldwin Smith wrote
an introduction to the Handbook of commercial union (1888),
published as a collection of letters, speeches, etc,,
propagandistic in tone, upon which speakers might draw.
He denied that the Ottawa government would have to commit
suicide because of an agreement regarding tariff rates,
but those familiar with his writings were not so sanguine.
As Mr, J.J.C* Abbott
asked in a Senate debate, what hope
could Canada have of expending her trade when such measures
would be under the control of the American government? And
how would the revenues be derived?
"Should we take the pit­
tance that might be dealt out to us by the United States at
their pleasure as a gratuity for what we have relinquished
and to enable us to carry on our Government, and pay for
the administration of justice?"
l/Shaw,T . Plain talks on commercial union between Canada and
the United States(1887)•
2/Farrer Papers .V I . Miscellaneous, Notes and Essays. An un­
dated editorial MS.
3/Handbook of commercial union (1888), x x x i .
4/Government spokesman in the Senate, and Sir John Macdonald’s
successor as prime minister.
5/Senate Debates. 2d session, 6th Pari. 1888, p.52; Feb/27,1888.
Certain business interests were favour­
able ; but the Canadian Manufacturer and Industrial World
published the results of a survey of manufacturers's opin­
ions conducted by the Executive Committee of the Canadian
Manufacturers1s Association, showing a predominant opposi1/
tion. An editorial opinion against commercial union and
in favour of a protective policy appeared in the same is­
sue .
The editorial pages of the leading papers
furnish an interesting popular commentary on the proposal.
One writer to the Empire urged a program of developing do­
mestic industries instead of a union which would keep Cana-
da permanently agricultural.
Another challenged the empha­
sis on commercial union with the United States
and mar­
shalled statistics to support his plea for an imperial com3/
mercial union, the solution proposed by Archibald McGoun
and the Imperial Federation League.
A letter from far­
away Halifax served to remind Ontarians that the Maritimes
still traded chiefly with Britain and the West Indies and
would not be shunted into artificial union with the States.
If free trade were given the United States, one-third of
the Nova Scotian customs revenue would be lost, and tariff
1/Copy for April 15,1887, in Macdonald Papers. Commercial
2/january 10, 1888.
4/On commercial union with the United States with a word on
imperial reciprocity, n.p. n.dT |l887[ 7™
against other countries would have to be raised to meet
the deficit. What kind of logic would that be, he en­
quired, which would give the United States which takes
one-third of Nova Scotia*s products, free imports at the
expense of those who take the other two-thirds 1
It was
typical of the commercial union propaganda that its bait
was all thrown to central Canada, 011 the assumption that
the agrarian west would follow Ontario into the fold. The
Maritime Provinces were entirely neglected, perhaps through
ignorance of their special!z^ed economy, or, perhaps, by
tacit admission that the plan could offer nothing in that
The Toronto Globe, favouring com­
mercial union, had asked for letters on Canada's national
future, and garnered a varied harvest. A response from
Winnipeg came out boldly for imperial federation, remind­
ing- the commercial unionists: "It is only a short time
since the people of this country were shouting
themselves hoarse for the blood of Louis Riel because he
had the boldness to stand out for the rights of his fel­
low halfbreeds in the Northwest, but we now find some of
these same people actually proposing to sell Canada to
the United States for a monetary consideration!" Another
correspondent of The Empire warned readers that while com­
mercial union might be easy to inaugurate, Canada could
1/The Empire,Toronto; Jan.11,1888.
2/November 5, 1888.
not blandly withdraw should it be found a retrogression*
An editorial in the same press called attention to the
difference in the emphasis of the WimantjLes on opposite
sides of the border,
ffin great contrast to the purely
Canadian reasons given Dominion audiences, was this out­
look in a speech before the New York Board of Trade, satir­
ically reported by The Empire:
And Canada having surrendered her val­
uable fisheries and exposed her industries to
ruinby the influx of all the United States
manufactures, must surely be offered some ad­
vantage, Mr, Wiman explains what he has furth­
er in store for us. After speaking of our
heavy expenditure to render accessible ’almost
a continent of productive soil’, he says: ’Some
other mode of taxation than that of duties on
importa/tions might have to be adopted, but the
fact that the markets which the United States
afford could be freely opened for her natural
productions would develop with such rapidity
the vast regions which these expenditures have
opened up, that Canadians would no doubt,GLADLY
Canadians would be delighted to submit to di­
rect taxation for the privilege of making the
other sacrifices demanded from them by these
agitators I
It has been mentioned that the growth of
the Imperial Federation League in Canada by 1887 was any­
thing but impressive, although a large body of public opin­
ion was sympathetic with its principles if not always with
its practical program.
1/January 4,1888.
2 /lbid.
There was needed only the impetus
of a threat to greatly accelerate its progress, and Just
such an impetus was given by the commercial union movement.
The imperial federationists were able to appeal to the
strength of national sentiment and to history for support
against this potential treason.
Canadians did not im­
mediately perceive the ulterior motives behind the move­
ment, but gradually a counter propaganda got underway,
centering about the militant Lieutenant-Colonel G-eorge T.
The very personification of the military tradi­
tion, this fiery officer saw imperial and international re­
lations as a simple matter of black and white. Non-existent
for him were the complexities of diplomacy, sectional inhibi­
tions and any largeness of outlook which would undertake to
harmonize multiple factors*
Schooled in resistance to Fen­
ian border outrages, the Colonel never ceased to regard the
United States as a menace and his military clique undertook
their reformation of imperial relations with the courage
and vigour of a Khartoum or Verdun besieged.
In Colonel Denisonfs mind, Canada’s ad­
herence to the Empire was attributed to two causes; the
loyalist tradition and the many examples of double-dyed vil­
lainy on the part of the United States.
But he was far from
willing that the latter alone be considered
imperial federation.
the motive for
He argued that the imperial sentiment
was first and foremost, and would not acknowledge that
commercial union as such had done more than transform la­
tent emotions into an active force.
As a leader in this
transformation he was in his element when every blow he
struck could have two directions; for the Empire and against
the United States*
Through Denison1s efforts, many of the
old Canada First group were recruited directly into the
ranks of the Imperial Federation League, and renewed their
former contacts at these meetings and in correspondence.
The Colonel1s anti-American bias was by no means universal2/
ly shared as John G-eorge Bourinot made plain in a letter to
Charles Mair
when he wrote; "You are right in what you
say about our American neighbours, our mutual friend Deni­
son to the contrary notwithstanding. They are a great people;
and though we should not be politically identified with them,
they are deserving of our admiration and imitation in not
a few respects."
The original Imperial Federation League
which had existed precariously since its foundation in 1885
had not teen able to establish a Toronto branch. The Denison
circle now decided to found one. On February 1, 1888, it
was organized with John B. Robinson as president, George
Cockburn and Colonel Denison, the vice-presidents, and Wil­
liam H. Merritt, secretary.
Other branches speedily ap-
1/Malr Papers. Denison to Mair; Apr.25,1888; May 20,1888; Dec.
25,1888; Dec.30,1888; Mar.31,1889.
2/Parliamentarian and prolific author of Canadian historical
and constitutional studies.
3/A leader of the Canada First Party.
4/Mair Papers. Bundle 16; Nov.22,1889.
peared throughout* Ontario and. the other provinces from
coast to coast.
In September the Montreal branch of
the League had. resolved;
That this meeting declares its
opposition to Commercial Union with the Unit­
ed States, both as tending to discriminate
against the other countries of the British
Empire and all other foreign countries none
of which discriminate in'their tariffs
against Canada, and many of which,being nat­
urally adapted for the production of articles
different from those of this country, offer
greater inducements for profitable inter­
change fcf commodities, than a country whose
products are largely similar to those of Can­
ada; also as dterojgatoryr to the national auton­
omy of this country whether an a portion of
the British Empire or as a separate and dis­
tinct nationality."
Sir Sandford Fleming expressed the Identical decision of
the Ottawa branch in his address at a n early, perhaps the
first meeting in that city, adding that freer commercial
relations were heartily desired and would be welcomed If
possible on Canadian terms.
Alexander McNeill, member of
Parliament, delivered an effective speech at Paris, On­
tario, the following January.
He,too, referred to the com­
mercial union movement as different in spirit from the fair
and equitable reciprocity Canada had long desired.
l/Printed with McGoun,A. On commercial union 11887} .
2/Fleming Papers. Vol.23. Handwritten copy of speech, Dec. 15,
3/The Empire. Toronto; Jan. 21,1888.
successful was this counter-attack by the Imperial Fed­
eration League that Sir John, in a jovial mood, wrote
Tupper that
C.U. is a dead duck*1*
And there was
much truth in Archibald McGoun’s statement to report­
ers that "The Commercial Union agitation which seems al­
ready to have run its course, has done more to advance
our cause than ten years* propagation would have done.’*
Commercial union and imperial federa­
tion soon made their appearance in Parliamentary debates.
As the commercial union movement gained in strength from
1887, the Liberal Party began to drift in that direction*
Under the leadership of Cartwright, Blake, Mowat and young
Laurier the Liberals had for four years been agitating
against the Conservative protective tariff*
They now adopt­
ed a plank for unrestricted reciprocity which meant an
American-dictated tariff for Canada against all the world,
including Great Britain, and a small minority of the party
were not repulsed by the thought that political union would
probably follow.
It should be recognized, however, that
this was not the guiding thought of Liberal party members
throughout the Dominion.
l/Macdonald Papers . Commercial Union ,1886-7 . Jan. 15,1888,
private. Tupper did not agree; see Tupper Pape rs *III * N o .438;
Tupper to Sir John, Dec.1,1888.
2/The Empire. Toronto; Jan.28,1888.
Great Britain took no official no­
tice of the commercial union agitation. It would have
been improper for her to do so inasmuch as it was fostered
by the party in opposition to Her Majesty* s Government in
the Dominion of Canada.
The Association of* the Chambers
of Commerce of the United Kingdom was much interested in
rumours of the movement and asked the Colonial Office for
information of any proposals which might be seriously advanced.
The reply stated 11that as the policy of Oommer-
cial Union with the United States is not advocated by the
Dominion Government, Her Majesty's Government do not an­
ticipate that any proposals In that direction are likely
to come under the consideration of the Government of the
United States.11
But although the British role was that
of onlooker, the most complete account of the early months
of commercial unionism is that furnished by the GovernorGeneral, the Marquis of Lansdowne, in a report to the
Colonial Secretary marked "extremely confidential."
The movement, he wrote, was rightly
described as one launched by private interests; and the
attitude of leading journals and progress of speaking tours
by Messrs. Goldwin Smith, Wiman and Butterworth were de­
tailed with some care.
Lord Lansdowne was particular to
1/G ser 1es. Despatches from the Seeretary of State for the
Colonies. 1888. Nos.1-117* Copy. Canada 81 (enclosed);
March 1, 1888.
2/ibid. Canada 81 (enclosed); March 14,1888.
3/Copy in Macdonald Papers. Commercial U n i o n , 1886-7; October
31,1887* See Appendix I for letter in full.
point out that commercial union would mean not only the
abolition of the customs line between Canada and the
United States, but their joint adoption of a common tariff
against the world, including Great Britain.
The hesita­
tion of both political parties to take a definite stand
on the question was ascribed by the Governor-General to
the virtual committment of both to a high protective tar­
To this was added the Loyalist tradition of Conserva­
tism and the antipathy of Liberal Quebec to Yankee domina­
He wisely foresaw, however, that should the move­
ment gain much more momentum, it would be Impossible for
men in public life to avoid taking sides.
Although the
economic gain for those occupied in agriculture or the
other natural industries would be great, the rising manu­
f a c t u r e s of Canada would be speedily ruined.
It was fur­
ther brought to the attention of the Colonial Office that
removal of economic barriers between areas of natural sec­
tional affinity could not but be fraught with peril for
the British political connection.
The economic agreement
once entered into would hardly be re-submitted periodically
to both, and revision and permanency would be only too like
ly to ensue at the dictates of the more powerful partner.
It requires no very elastic imagination to envision a grad­
ual political absorption developing from such a situation.
In the summer of 1887 G-reat Britain
and the United States agreed to the appointment of a
joint commission for the readjustment of the fishery
question, Joseph Chamberlain and Sir Charles Tupper
were to join the British Minister, Sir Lionel SackvilleWest,at Washington to negotiate
Secretary of State,
with Mr. Bayard, the
W.L. Putnam of Maine and James B.
Angell, President of the University of Michigan.
Chamberlain was to stop off in Canada briefly, and his
imminent arrival perturbed the Canadian government.
David Macpherson reverted to Hamletian analogy in his
He wrote the prime minister, "chamberlain, I
presume, will come to Toronto. If he does would it not
be well, if possible, to prevent his staying with G-oldwin
Smith who will surround him with Commercial Unionists and
disloyalists of every shape, G-oldwin himself pouring the
poison into his ear all the time."
Mr. S m i t h s criti­
cal propoensities were as well known to the English as
to the Canadians, however, and Mr. Chamberlain1s opinion
of Canada does not seem to have suffered from this brief
The negotiations were completed after a
few months. On February 15, 1888, President Cleveland sub­
mitted the resulting Bayard-Chamberlain Treaty to the Sen­
ate and recommended it as a fair and honourable settlement.
l/Pope .op .cit.,p.4-07; Dec.l4,l887.
But because of its reciprocal tariff privileges and the
desire not to permit Cleveland to receive credit for the
treaty, the Senate defeated it on a straight party vote.
Then came the President*s amazing demand for Congression­
al retaliation against Canada, because of the failure of
a settlement for which she obviously was not to blame I
Naturally, the subsequent non-intercourse bills and the
Retaliation Act cancelling certain bonding privileges
could not but awaken angry response in the Dominion. Sena­
tor John Sherman of Ohio, Chairman of the Senate Committee
on Foreign Affairs, made a sigmifleant speech in the Sen­
ate on September 15, in which he proposed that a resolu­
tion inviting Canada to enter the American union be referred to that Committee.
With suspicious promptitude Eras-
tus Wiman telegraphed this to the Canadian press, subtlely
adding that the United States would assume the Dominion
debt, estimated at $300,000,000.
The cause of neighbour­
liness in these difficult times was certainly not promoted
by obnoxious and irresponsible utterances such as that of
Mr. W.H.H. Murray at Boston in December, 1888.
He said:
We shall invite them [the Canadians]
to share with us the destiny of the Continent;
to share with us its greatness and its glory, as
historically they have a right to do and should
be proud of dointt: but if they foolishly decline
our invitation and undertake to rival us and im­
peril us by an alien development, then must they
look for no help from us, for we shall certainly
not help them at all, and we shall as certainly
oppose their progress to the fullest extent of
our power. And this we shall do in the interest
of liberty and of mankind, for he must be a fool
1/ Sherman,J . Re latlons with Canada
annexat ion, (speech in
the Senate, Sept.15,1888). Washington,1888.
who thinks that two great rival Powers
can exist side by side in peace upon
this Continent.
In the spring of that year of 1888
before the rejection of the treaty and proposals of an­
nexation , it had been possible
for the Canadian Parlia­
ment to debate at length on the reciprocity question.
The huge volumes of Debates of the House of Commons for
the year are more than half devoted to that issue.
series of debates was launched by Sir Richard Cartwright
(Liberal) on March 14, when he offered the resolution
that Canada open negotiations with the United States for
unrestricted reciprocity of trade based upon duty-free
admission of each other’s natural or manufactured prod­
ucts, excepting only those subject to excise or Internal
In opening the debates he endeavoured to
take an international view and offered Britain’s diplo­
matic isolation as an argument for Canadian-American
commercial reciprocity, a friendly intercourse which
would serve to aid the whole Empire in establishing bet3/
ter relations with the Republic.
John Charlton sup­
ported his colleague and declared this to be the party
question of the day.
Alexander McNeill spoke for the
l/Murray.W.H.H. Continental unity (Boston,1888), p.34.
2/Pebates.House of Commons. 2nd session, 6th Pari. 1888.
Vol.I , p“.l44.
3/ibid.,p. 155.
4/See his Unrestricted reclprocity wlth the United States
(address in the House of Commons, March 16,1888) n.p.1888;
and ibid (address in the House of Commons, March 7,1889)
government, reiterating the Conservative willingness
for fair reciprocity but expressing the profound sus­
picion with which they regarded the current propaganda.
Under the terms of the last reciprocity bargain with the
United States, the latter had an advantage exceeding
and yet regarded the terms as over-favour-
able to Canada,
If the Dominion sought a new arrangement^
they must "expect to pay pretty dear for their whistle,"
and surrender the protection of Canadian industry as well,
George E. Foster, a member of the government, sought to
draw the sting of the motion by attaching a rider amend­
ment which upheld the Conservative protection policy and
would effectually kill Sir Richard's real motive -- com2/
mercial union.
The vote, however, was 124 to 67, a
majority of 57 for the government in defeating the Cartwright motion.
The ministry's counter program was to
stress an imperial rather than a continental tariff union.
The federationists, Mr. J.H. Marshall, introduced a mo-
tion for preferential trade within the Empire.
v The
iety of products available and a potential market of 320,
were always strong points for this argument. Al­
though it did not come to a vote, the imperial reciprocity
idea became an integral part of the imperial federation
1/Debates.House of Commons. 2nd session,6th Pari. 1888.Vol.I,
p p .242-3, March 19.
2/ibid., p.198, March 15.
3/G series. Drafts of Despatches from the Governor-General to
the Secretary of State for the Colonies. 1888. Draft No. 134;
Marquis of Lansdowne to Lord Knutsford, April 28,1888.
4/pebates,House of Commons. 2nd session, 6th Pari. 1888. Vol.II,
p.1069, April 30.
program; and resolutions were carried in many of the
branch leagues in favour of discriminating tariffs
among the colonies and the mother country.
The summer and autumn of 1888 following
the retaliatory American actions loosed a storm of reaction
in the Dominion which temporarily prohibited calm discus­
sion. The press hummed with editorials and letters. The
lion was made to growl and the eagle to scream, while old
bones of 1776 and 1812 were dug up and reconsecrated. Arch­
deacon Jones of Napanee, Ontario, wanted to call a "Loyal
League" or "Red Ribbon League” into being as a rallyingpoint for high-churchman, lay and clerical.
Senator Sher­
man and Representative Butterworth had voiced their belief
that peace with Canada was possible only by political as
well as commercial union.
The Montreal Gazette satirically
commiserated Wiman on the indiscretions of his associates;
"The lot of Mr. Wiman is indeed a hard one. To think that
after introducing Mr, Butterworth to the Canadian public as
the high priest of commercial union, a man of vast politi­
cal influence in the United States, whose soul yearned to
Canadians the advantage of a free market of sixty millions
without disturbance of her political integrity, he should
suddenly without a moment*g warning expose the real inwardj/Fleminp; Papers. Vol.257
ary 2, 1889•
D.B.Jones to Sir Sandford, Janu­
ness of the whole plot, is enough to make Erastus throw
up the project in disgust.11
This was the chief subtlety of the
movement; to mask its probable annexationist result be­
hind a cordial invitation to share economic prosperity.
Senator Abbott had been outspoken in pointing that out
in parliamentary debate.
As he had said, Wiman was not
so soft-spoken across the line.
In connection with a
hearing before the Interstate Commerce Commission on a
railway issue, Wiman found an opportunity to put in a
few words to the effect that Canada wanted commercial
union whict^ras merely a short-cut to annexation. She
would not, he said, retain the sentimental tie with
As to politics in the Dominion; !,The hopes of
one great party there rest entirely upon an old man.
After the death of Sir John Macdonald will come the de3/
luge .11
The Imperial Federation League enthusaistically supported Mr. Mulock's (Liberal) resolution
in the House of Commons for the sending of a loyal address
to Queen Victoria.
Members of both parties, races and re­
ligions, vied in expressing their loyalty to the Crown. The
Gove rnor -G-eneral, Lord Stanley of Preston, in transmitting
it to the Colonial Secretary took occasion to describe the
introduction, discussion and unanimous passage of the motion for the address.
l/December 17,188;editorial.
2/Senate Deb a t e s . 4th session,_6th Pari.1890, p. 278; March 13.
3/The Empire,Toronto; May 9,1889.
4/a series. Drafts of Despatches fjLQUL ftpve rnor -Ge neral L a Se_ane_■fAR y O F STATF F or
<zoLQ A /iF^.
/* * -
/ e- f a-
In February, 1890, an opposition
member asked whether the government was aware that a
number of its employees were members of the Ottawa
branch of the Imperial Federation League, and whether
it intended to permit them to continue that affilia­
Sir John answered that he had no official in­
formation about it, "but if they are, I do not think
that they are doing any harm to anybody."
The question of imperial federation
could not be kept "on ice" indef^initely, however.
March 13, Senator Charles Boulton, a member of the gov­
ernment, brought the following motion before the Senate;
That in the opinion of this
House, the time has arrived when Canada
might be accorded a measure of representa­
tion in the Imperial Parliament by giving
to the Government of the Dominion of Cana­
da, and to the Government of each Province
b & in the Dominion, the appointment of a
representative holding a seat in the Imper­
ial House of Commons, the representative
of the Dominion also holding a seat in the
Imperial Privy Council, the privileges of
such representatives being limited to the
discharge of and voting upon such questions
as may affect Canadian interests. That this
resolution be transmitted to His Excellency
the Governor General in Council, for such
constitutional action as he may deem it ad­
visable to take in the interests of the coun
try. 2/
l7Pebates,House of Commons. 4th session, 6th Pari. 1890. Vol.I,
p . 8 8 6 , February 20.
2/Senate Debates. 4th session, 6th Pari. 1890, p.256.
Mr, Boulton defended his motion
for representation in the imperial Parliament as giving
Canada a voice in directing imperial destiny and provid­
ing a greater theatre for her talents, without restricting
her independence or creating an
irksome "bond.
Macdonald of British Columbia strongly supported him and
dwelt upon the imperial commercial union dear to his isolated province.
Another member said that while imperial
federation was a pleasant banquet topic, yet those who were
supporting it had offered no tangible plan of action.
was not of the opinion that
Great Britain would consent
to a tariff union necessitating a tax upon her foodstuffs,
nor did he see any advantage to Canada of representation
in an imperial Parliament whose sessions were clogged with
domestic legislation.
Senator Kaulbaeh of Nova Scotia
went on record as favouring closer commercial and politi­
cal relations with England and the other colonies, al­
though disagreeing with Boulton*s scheme for provincial
representation in the British Parliament.
Lawrence G-.
Power bluntly but humourously disposed of imperial federa­
tion by terming it a dead issue*
...I think the people with whom
this discussion has originated are a number
of very respectable and, as a rule, rather
intellectual gentlemen, with a good deal of
leisure time, who, in casting about for some
means to occupy their learned leisure, lighted
$ipon this Imperial Federation, and found it an
interesting subject, and one that at some fuu
ture day might possess some practical value.
They discuss and write about it, and in that
2/ibid.,p.266 .
way create an impression that it is al­
most a live issue. Now I do not think
that it is in any sense a live issue;
and we had better not trouble our heads
with Imperial Federation, but had better
try and improve the administration of
our existing constitution to the furthest
possible point; and if anything gets very
wrong with our constitution try and have
it amended, 1/
Nothing practical came of all this oratory, but Senator
Boulton expressed his satisfaction with the two days*s
His purpose had been to provoke just such
an exchange of opi^nions and the motion was withdrawn.
Hard upon the. tension of the treaty
rejection, came the McKinley Tariff Act of 1890, a Re­
publican enactment which had the hearty approval of Ameri­
can industry.
But the rumblings of the west led Blaine
to insert his ftconciliatory11 penalty clause, giving the
the power to impose duties on free and low-
tariff articles, if he believed the nations exporting
them were discriminating against. American goods.
The pro­
hibitive duty on the natural products of Canada, falling
especially upon the west, was obviously not solely for
revenue, and many Canadians believed it was intended to
so restrict their trade as to compel them to seek annexa­
Any virtual cessation of trade with the States
would be inconceivable because of the community of needs
of the two countries.
1/ ibid..p.27
Thus the trade figures show the
steadiness of Canadian imports from her two chief
centres of supply; but in her increasing volume of
export trade a sharp upswing is registered in the di­
rection of the United Kingdom. These statistics are not
devoid of political interest, nor of a degree of politi­
cal causation.
GfeAT B r it a in
5 H o, 5
ix v r
h i, *
7 7 ,7 * r
H /,$ H X ,U 9
tf tj > fT7 i ,
/jr r r
' S r j o s ' , tz&>
' l$ 9 o
7 1 ,2 *0 , 7 5 *
67 ,0 *0,^93
3 9, 7 5 2 , 73<i
6?iejT 0 xirjiA /
# H3 ,
o /5
Hl,Ht>6, 777
$ So, H i * > * * 4 ,
i7 ,/S /,2 o <
f ii
3 6 , * 7 *> 76 f
962, 2 3 3
3 7 ,U o y t f
7 5 , / o 7 t o L(*
H Z ,5 7 Z > oCS'
39, z 1 * , 7
HV, H * h
73, ^ 22,707
7 2 ,3 /7 ,3 *1
r*, s z y .H H o
Ho, 52 X, F i o
Hd, 3 1 o , z H !
5 2 , 2 1 1, 9 7 3
S3, <***-,6*7
o h 7,
5 3 , <3 7, 5 7 2
3 *,1 *r,o x 7
Hd ,1 2 3 ,0 1 0
i3,lif* Hi3
5 * , 2 2 1 , 9 7 <o
(compiled from Sessional Papers.
XXVII. Vol.5, fourth session of
the seventh Parliament of the Do­
minion of Canada. Session 1894;
Statements No .4 and 5, pp.viii-ix).
The Toronto Empire, while printing
many irate letters from its readers, editorially advised
the nation M to steer her own wav with self-respect, but
showing malice toward none, and treating all threats
abroad or traitors at home with dignified disdain.”
Sir John Macdonald was not very hopeful that enough
American opposition could be marshalled to effect re­
peal, but Canada was experimenting with poultry and
egg shipments to England, while "Foster, who required a
change has gone off to Cuba and British West Indies to
see what can be done in extending our trade in that di­
rection, and Adam Brown goes In January to Jamaica to
oversee our contribution to the Exhibition, So you see
we are not asleep. . 2 /
National elections were on the Canad­
ian horizon for 1891, and the prime minister had 11serious
apprehensions which are shared by all our friends here,
that a large amount of Yankee money will be expended to
corrupt our people* I have no doubt that that rascal Wi—
man is already raising a fund for the purpose."
was correct; the rascal was busy.
Sir John
In February, 1891, Wi­
man himself made a telling contribution to the Conserva­
tive campaign when he had the bad taste to send a circular
letter to the members of Congress, containing this para­
i/October 4, 1890.
2/Pope ,o p .c i t ..p .479: Sir John to Sir George Stephen, November
10, 1590.
The hot campaign which is going
forward in Canada, prior to the Parliament­
ary election on March 5th, shows how import­
ant it is that the Liberal Party should be
encouraged by some intimation of favor on the
part of Congress. Their efforts to procure
power for the purpose of offering Unrestricted
Reciprocity to this country, whiich implies a
discrimination against English goods in favor
of American manufactures, certainly merits some
encouragement. The Resolution recommended by
the Committee of Foreign Affairs will have this
effect, and its early passage is most urgently
As the election writs went out, the
Conservative party swung into line behind the old leader
and a slogan proclaiming "No Discrimination against Eng­
land," such as commercial union would have entailed. Tra­
ditional suspicion of the United States, together with
the traditional attachment to the imperial tie gave the
familiar loyalty cry its usual prestige.
In the Liberal
party, the majority favoured commercial union not believ­
ing it would result in annexation;
others did not care;
and still others were mere flotsam on the political tide.
The Organizing Committee of the Imperial Federation League
energetically addressed itself to the task of appealing
to the loyalty of the country. Their campaign embraced
patriotic programs and contests in the public schools,
and Principal Grant, Colonel Denison, Thomas Macfarlane
and others campaigned for the Conservatives on the plat1/Reprinted in Ehe Empire ."Toronto: March 2,1891.
form and in the press.
Goldwin Smith published his
Canada and the Canadian q_uestion .
and inaugurated a
series of
lectures intended to undermine Canadian loy­
alty; but Colonel Denison staged counter-spee che s after
each of these.
Sir Charles Tupper returned to Canada
for the election. In the course of his campaigning, Sir
Charles penned a diatribe on "The Wiman Conspiracy Unmasked"
to the great satisfaction of his party. Sir Sandford wrote
his pleasuring in reading it,
and Macdonald said, "You
have shortly but effectually cooked Wiman1s goose for him."
Almost on the eve of the election,
Horace E. Crawford of Winnipeg made public the particu­
lars of an interview given him by Erastus Wiman in New
York a year earlier.
Mr. Wiman, he wrote, had very flatly
stated his interest in and expectation of commercial and
Ultimate political union, saying he looked to certain
members of the Liberal party in Canada for cooperation.
When displayed on numerous front pages this naturally em­
barrassed the Liberals.
Edward Farrer, editor of the G-lobe.
prepared a pamphlet of treasonable character and had thirl/See his praise of Wiman on p .282.
2/ln North American Review. 152 (1891), 54-9-56.
3/Tupper Papers.IV. N o .4-90; May 5,1891.
4/ibid. No7480a; March 28, 1891.
5/Boxed on front page of The Empire,Toronto, March 4,1891.
teen copies printed privately for distribution to certain
American politicians.
The text pointed out how best the
United States could act to encourage and force annexation.
Farrer later attempted a thin defence stressing the private
nature of the incident in a letter to the new editor.
of the compositors in the printing office had recognized
Mr. Farrer1s handwriting and, astounded at the nature of
the pamphlet, informed Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, then in
the government.
The latter told the prime minister.
proofs were so carefully watched that they could not se­
cure a copy, but the printer was able to ink the pages of
type after finishing the printing and make a rough impres­
sion of about two-thirds of the work.
That was sufficient
to show the drift of the whole and furnished valuable quo­
tations which Sir John used in public addresses to expose
the intrigue, much to the mystification of Farrer who knew
no extras had been printed and who was able to trace the
thirteen he had ordered.
The extent of Farrer's separ­
ateness in this matter from the mass of the Liberal party
may be Judged in this extract from one of his letters to
Wiman in which he complained*
"The littleness and half­
heartedness of the Liberals is also very disheartening.
l/Reprinted in The~Empire.Toronto, February 19,1891.
2/Son of Sir Charles Tupper.
The House of Commons was dissolved
on February 3, and on the seventh the old leader,Sir
John Macdonald, struck the final blow in his last address
to the people of Canada. He admitted using the loyalty
cry "for all it was worth,"
yet it cannot be doubted
that he was entirely sincere in his allegiance.
He out­
lined the commercial union movement and the opinion of
his party that it would inevitably lead to annexation.
In addition to the series of material objections cited,
he closed with his famous loyalty appeal:
As for myself, my course is clear.
A British subject I was born
a British
subject I will die....During my long public
service of nearly half a century, I have
been true to my country and its best inter­
ests, and I appeal with equal confidence to
the men who have trusted me in the past, and
to the young hope of the country, with whom
rests its destinies for the future, to give
me their united and strenuous aid in this,
my last effort, for the unity of the Empire
and the preservation of our commercial and
political freedom. 3/
The election returns of March 5 gave
the Macdonald government a majority of 25 in a House of
215, and 25 of the opposition were unseated by the courts.
1/Reprinted in front-page box in The Empire,Toronto, Febru­
ary 24,1891.
2/MacdonaId Papers . Miscell.1890-1. No.2. Sir John to W.H.
Smith, April 8,1891.
5/The Empire.Toronto, February 9,1891.
But the victory was soon largely neutralized by the
death in June of the beloved premier,
v however,
Wiman*s anti-
had been too optimistic a
Commercial union was quite discredited for
the time being.
Tupper considered unrestricted recip­
rocity a dead issue and wrote Principal Grant that he
never expected to see it an issue at another general
Commercial union did not die i$ a
week, however, although its force as a national politi­
cal movement had been destroyed.
There were still an­
nexationists, commercial unionists, and a greater number
Interested in reciprocity, sufficiently so to inspire
constant wariness on the part of the federationists.
1892 Goldwin Smith organized the Continental Union Associa­
tion of Ontario in close association with the Continental
Union League of New York.
The Association issued its own
publications from time to time, from its headquarters in
Goldwin Smith, though disappointed that commer­
cial union had not been achieved, was by no means fearful
of a losing battle against the federationists.
He found
solace in doubting the sincerity of their offer of a pref­
erential tariff.
Writing to Lord Farrer, June 22,1892, he
1/See above, p.73.
2/Tupper Papers. IV. N0 .519. April 25,1892; see also his
letter to Lord Stanley of Preston in ibid ., No.520, April
2 5 , 1892 .
Commercial Union with the States,
if we could have got it, would have
brought Free Trade in its train. It
would have so enlarged the protected
areas as to have destroyed the value of
the monopoly, and it would have annul­
led the patriotic agreement, which at
present has great weight with the Ameri­
cans. But the train has passed that sta­
tion. Political union with the States is
the next issue, and apparently it is not
far off.
Francis W. Glen, Manager of the Na­
tional Continental Union League of New York, was even
more frank in a "strictly confidential" letter to Edward
Farrer, In which he defined the object of the League as
the promotion of "the political reunion of the two great
English-speaking communities who now occupy this contin­
ent, thereby creating a vast Republic under the American
flag extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Sea,
and from Newfoundland to Vancouver."
Mr. Glen’s rosy
plans showed little sign of materializing, however, and
it was with some disgust that he wrote Farrer In March,
1894, "I do not blame Professor Smith in the slightest
degree, nor yourself, nor Mr. Mercier.
Outside of you
three I would not give much for the Canadian friend of
continental union."
I/Haultain,A. Selection frcm^GoTdwin Smith’s correspondence
2/Copy in Thompson Papers. undated [l894?j .
3/Leader of the French-Canadian minority interest in commer­
cial union.
4/Thompson Papers, March 8,1894.
Sir John Macdonald had written after
the election, ... "we are not safe yet. American money was
used against us during the elections and we have just as­
certained that $100,000 have been collected in New York and
are now deposited in a Canadian Bank to enable petitions
to be filed and Bye^electiosn fought . I see that the Eng­
lish press is incredulous as to the extent of the intrigues
I have mentioned, but we are fully advised of their exis­
tence. It is the fixed purpose of the American people to ab1/
sorb Canada and it is our resolve to resist absorption.1*
Occasional flurries occurred when in­
dependence meetings were held, but they provoked mirth
rather than alarm.
Colonel Denison described one such
Toronto gathering to his friend, Charles Mair, as "an ut2/
ter fizzle.1*
Only one speaker advocated independence and
no more than fourteen supported him when the vote was put.
The crowd ridiculed them, singing **Rule Britannia," and
would have thrahsed them had there been enough present to
make it worthwhile.
"The traitors were so few the loyal
crowd only laughed at them and had heaps of fun at their
Amid the host of congratulatory mes­
sages received by Sir John after the election, the following
l/Ma6donald Papers. Mi sce-11.1890-1. No.2.
Smith, April 8, 1891*
2/Mair Papers; bundle 2. January 7,1892.
Sir John to W.H.
with its curious explanatory post-script, faith­
fully attests the importance of the results to imperial2/
Dear Sir:
I wish to write and congratulate you
on winning the elections in Canada. I read your
manifesto and I could understand the issue. If I
might express a wish, it would he that we could
meet before stern fate cHaims us. I might write
pages, but I feel I know you and your politics
as if we had been friends for years. The whole
thing lies in the question, can we invent some
tie with our mother country that will prevent
separation? It must be a practical one, for
future generations will not be born in England.
The curse is that English politicians cannot
see the future. They think they will always be
the manufacturing mart of the world, but do not
understand what protection coupled with recip­
rocal relations means. I have taken the liberty
of writing to you, and If you honor me with an
answer I will write again.
Your s ,
C.J. Rhodes
P.S. You might not know who I am, so I will say
I am the Prime Minister of the colony, that
is, the Cape Colony.
May, 1891.
I7Millin,S.G. Cecil Rhodes (1933), p.181.
2/Sir John was dead before the letter reached Ottawa
When one goes back to pick up the
threads of the progress of imperial federation which
were not directly associated with the commercial union
turmoil of 1891, one finds a conspicuous shift of em­
phasis from things political to things commercial. The
interest, especially of Canada, in an imperial prefer­
ence arrangement had been evident for some years, and
federationists hoped that it could succeed where they
were beginning to concede that political federation
could not.
Archibald McGoun had expressed this view in
an early pamphlet in 1884,
which he now reaffirmed.
As one South African federationist put it: each new gen­
eration born overseas meant a lossening of the sentiment­
al bond, a bond which might well be strengthened by the
practical advantages of commercial discrimination.
Imperial Federation League in Canada, many of its branch­
es and numerous Boards of Trade, adopted resolutions placing
an imperial preferential fiscal policy among the objects of
l/Federation of the empire (1884). p .26 .
2/Federal parliament of the British people (published by order
of the Executive Committee, I.F.L. in C .)•(1890), pp.86-7.
3/Report of address by Sir Gordon Sprigg^ in The Tlmes t London,
January 15,1890.
their organizations.
So unanimous was Canadian opin­
ion that Sir John Macdonald had discouraged the sending
of a British delegation to sound out the national desire
for reciprocal trade, saying: "We are united on that
Such a deputation, however, would be warmly re­
ceived by our people, and their representations as to
the state of things here, on their return to England,
might advance the cause of fair trade there."
1890, with the American outlets for Canadian produce vir­
tually blocked and no remedy imminent in that quarter, a
closer imperial trade relation became more valuable and
more important to secure.
Even some of the Liberals were
favourable. Mr. Howard Vincent, member of Parliament for
Sheffield and visitor to Canada in the interests of the
United Empire Trade League of which he was secretary,
quoted the Liberal leader, Mr. Wilfrid Laurier, as saying,
"if our negotiations with the United States fail, I am
your man."
It was even more significant that
many Englishmen were beginning td> swing over to this
"fair trade" as opposed to "free trade" policy.
But a
short time before Sir Charles Dilke could write that
"The British Empire for customs purposes consists of a
l/Pope,o p .cit.,p.449: Sir John to James Edgecombe, July 4, 1889.
2/MacdonaId Papers. Mlsee 11.1890-1. No.2. Memorandum of conver­
sation with Howard Vincent, July 24, 1891.
great number of foreign and almost hostile countries,"
but many were thinking that it should not remain so *
The increasing competitive spirit and the new note of
economic nationalism began to make free trade seem un­
Yet it could correctly be said that a sudden in­
troduction of an imperial preferential policy might, in
view of international relations, be equally unwise.
merous economic studies were written, more or less im­
partial in tone, comparing the claims of the two poli­
cies, weighing political factors together with economic
The growing uneasiness of the international situa­
tion was reflected in the protectionist argument for the
value of nationalistic tariffs to nations forced to main­
tain vast armaments.
One writer believed that only when
the world no longer consisted of hostile armed camps could
free trade emerge as the rational system of commercial ex-
Joseph Chamberlain, whose later con­
version meant so much to the cause of imperial preference,
promised Colonel Denison in May, 1890, that he would care-
fully consider the arguments in its behalf.
Moreton Frew-
en had written to Macdonald 'in
"I had John
March that;
Burns to dine with me one night recently, and asked him
l/Froblems of greater Britain (1890)* p.633.
2/Hervey,M.W. The trade policy of imperial federation (1892),
3/Garvin,J.L. Life of Joseph Chamberlain . II (1934), pp.468-9.
what was the leading feature in the new labour move­
ments- he said at once the *revolt against free trade
showing itself in the demand for an eight hours bill.1
A few nights later Lord Rothschild said to Randolph at
dinner, 'how blind I have been these many years, support­
ing any other free trade except free imports from the Col­
So you see tops and bottoms, the Jew financiers
and the 'submerged tenth* are equally preparing us for
fiscal changes.
No doubt Rhodes who during his recent
visit talked discriminating Tariffs to everyone he met,
has made a very profound impression."
An imperial cust­
oms union had been Sir Charles Tupper*s favourite talkingpoint from the very beginning of the imperial federation
agitation and he suffered ho opportunity to pass without
bringing it before the public.
At the Conference of the
Chambers of Commerce of the Empire in June, 1891, a Lon­
don representative introduced a motion that any fiscal
union between Great Britain and the colonies by means of
preferential duties based on protection would be politi­
cally and economically dangerous.
Tupper immediately
moved an amendment which, alter alteration, called for a
differential duty of 5% to be adopted by the several gov­
ernments of the Empire favouring certain imperial over
foreign articles.
This led to a second debate and a de-
l7MQ-cdonald Papers. Mi see 11.1890-1* No. 2. March 11, 1891.
2/Saunders, op.cit..p .l6l.
feat for the amendment by a vote of 55-33, but it was
significant that a majority of the colonial delegates
present had voted in the affirmative.
There was another matter which seriously
hampered the work of those seeking an immediate common fis­
cal policy for the Empire. That was the existence of com­
mercial treaties between Great Britain and Belgium, and Great
Britain and Germany, both of which contained "most favoured
nation" clauses.
With these in force, the enactment of any
colonial preference for British goods would have to be ex­
tended to those states also. At the annual meeting of the
League in Canada in January, 1890, a resolution was carried
denouncing the German and Belgian treaties.
It was realized
that until they were abrogated the real work would have to
be done in England in creating the opinion necessary to force
that step.
The earliest date at which they could be abrogat­
ed was July 1, 1892, and then only provided notice had been
given on that day of 1891*
Colonel Denison agreed to go to
England with two objects in view: to prepare the way for the
denunciation of the treaties, and to urge a policy of prefer­
ential tariffs around the Empire.
A special resolution auth­
orized him to represent the Canadian Imperial Federation League
while in Great Britain.
Although requested to speak on many
occasions, he was frequently asked not to bring up the con-
troversial question of tariffs.
When named as a principal
speaker at the Imperial Federation League Annual Meeting,
May 22, 1890, Denison was again told it would "be imprudent
and unpleasant to bring up the tabooed subject; but he re­
fused to be side-tracked.
His warm advocacy of imperial
preference was received with hearty applause.
In lengthy
interviews with Lord Salisbury and Mr. Chamberlain, he
stressed Canada’s critical situation and the chance that
American money might determine the approaching general
election in the Dominion.
Both men were sympathetic and
concurred in the opinion that the German and Belgian treaties
must be scrapped, but were politically unable to move at
that time.
After the interlude of the election,
the matter of the abrogation of the treaties was taken up
again by the Canadian Conservatives, who sought mutual pref­
erence in Empire markets as the best insurance against any
renewal for commercial union with the States. Accordingly,
In September the Senate and House of Commons authorized a
joint address to Her Majesty, the Queen, asking the termina­
tion of the provisions of the "most favoured nation” clauses
of those treaties.
The address was forwarded to the Colonial Office by the Governor-General in the customary manner.
1/Denison, op.cit.. pp.142-3^
2/Tupper Papers. IV. No.505. Sir Charles to J.J.C.Abbott,
October 16,1891.
3/Copy in Thompson Papers.
series. Drafts of Despatches from Governor-General to the
Secretary of State for Colonies. 1891. Dft.No.276, Oct.22,1891.
Sir Charles Tupper appreciated the reasons enforcing
caution, but hoped that colonial offers of preference
would spur a decision.
To Prime Minister Abbott, who had
succeeded Macdonald, he wrote;
I may tell you that there is un­
doubtedly a growing feeling in this country
in favour of giving some discrimination to col­
onial products, especially in the ranks of the
Conservative and Unionist parties. It is not
likely to take any immediate shape in view of
the approaching general election, and of a nat­
ural disinclination on the part of the Govern­
ment to make any change which would lay them
open to the charge of departing from the prin­
ciples of free trade, but after the general
election I quite expect that there will be a
considerable movement if not agitation, in the
direction I have indicated, although it is not
possible to forecast exactly the turn it will
take, I wish you had found it practicable to
mention in your speech that the Government would
be prepared, supposing the objectionable treat­
ies were modified or abrogated, to extend pref­
erential treatment to imports from Great Brit­
ain in return for a similar concession on their
part to Canadian exports. 1/
Sir Charles and the Agents-General of the other colonies in
London continued their representations;
but the reply ex­
plained that denunciation would occasion a far-reaching re­
vision of British Empire trade relations which could not
opportunely be undertaken at that time.
Five years later,
when they had in Chamberlain a powerful champion at the
Colonial Office, the abrogation was achieved.
1/Tupper Papers.IV. No.305* October 16,1891.
2/See Imperial Federation League, City of London Branch. Report
of meeting...November hear Hon. George E. Foster »
Canadian Finance Minister on 11The Outlook in Canada.* (1892).
3/Copy in Thompson Papers: Colonial Secretary, Lord Knutsford, to
Governor-General,Lord Stanley of Preston, April 2,1892.
This was a year in which the Imper­
ial Federation League took stock of itself, its proclaim­
ed objects and degree of success, the asset of public in­
terest and the liability of its lack of a plan* A circu­
lar letter was sent out by Secretary A* H. Loring of the
parent league to all branches requesting their views upon:
Points for Consideration
broadly define what are the essentials
the Federation to be aimed at*
suggest by what gradual process they can
indicate the steps in that process which
is now practically possible to take.
Interrogatorie s
A.Whether it is desirable to have contribu­
tions from the self-governing Colonies to
Imperial Defence.
B.What should be included in a proper scheme
of Imperial Defence.
C.On what basis should contributions be ap­
portioned .
D.What method should be adopted for raising
the money.
E.What system of administration should be
adopted in order to give the self-governing
Colonies a share in it.
F.Whether influence over, or a share in the
control of, foreign policy should follow.
a.How that control, if granted, should be ex­
ercised by the Colonies.
The Ottawa branch had previously sent
out a questionnaire of fourteen points bearing on the Brit­
ish interrogatories.
As the replies reached Ottawa from
1/ Copy in Fleming PapersT Vol.21*
all over the Dominion, a carefully prepared summary was
returned by the president, Sir Sandford Fleming, to Secretary Loring.
Highpoints were the virtual unanimity that
the imperial relation/ should be perpetuated but modified
to give colonists a voice in affairs of common imperial
A majority preferred a perferential trade policy,
but were not agreed that a small ad valorem duty on alien
imports would be the best way of achieving it.
There was
greatest diversity and brevity on the question of how all
British subjects might share control of imperial and for­
eign affairs.
Special mention was made of the scholarly
reply of Judge A. L. Palmer of Saint John, New Brunswick,
whose letter was enclosed.
The solidity of his opinions
is shown in this disapprobation of alarmist rumours; " I am
not one of those who think the present condition of the
Empire, both in its home and colonial organization, is not
very satisfactory; on the contrary I think it is, and I
think the unrest that is occasioned by thinking that some­
thing radical must be done or disaster would follow, has
not only no foundation to rest upon but it is very deleter­
ious to all parties that are
affected and therefore it
should be everywhere discouraged."
A good many plans for federation were
advanced: by George R. Parkin lecturing throughout England,
1/lbid *.October 20.1691.
2/ibid., Aug.2,1890.
in Cyril Ransome's six points,
and by others; but ap­
parently none could be devised to which all could assent.
When a Committee of the League called upon Lord Salisbury
in June,1891, it was challenged to submit a definite
s/cheme for federation. In response, a meeting of the
Council of the League passed a resolution moved by Sir
Charles Tupper and seconded by Sir Frederick Young, to
the effect that a committee be appointed to submit to the
Council definite proposals for the consideration of the
League branches throughout the Empire.
Although Sir
Charles still endeavoured to act circumspectly with regard
to his League affiliations, the opposition continued to
enquire in the Canadian Parliament whether he spoke for
the government or merely for himself.
The Tupper plan, made public under the
title "Federating the Empire; a Colonial Plan" In the Nine­
teenth Century for October ,1891, was the most comprehensive
scheme advanced and was substantially that adopted by the
Council of the League.
In this review of practicable meth­
ods, the author discarded both the doctrine of parliamentary
federation and the fallacy of a common tariff throughout
the Empire.
But he maintained that a low rate of 5s a quar­
ter on foreign corn would be sufficient advantage to colonial
l/liacdonald Pa p e r s . Miscell .1890-1* No. 2.
John, May 1, 1890, and enclosure.
Cyril Ransome to Sir
2/pebates. House of Commons. 1st session, 7th Pari. 1891.
Vol.II, pp. 2153^f; Mr. Amyot, on July 13,1891.
growers without increasing the cost of bread in Great
The details of the fiscal policy could be worked
out between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the rep­
resentatives of the Dominions (assuming Australasian and
South African federation on the Canadian model). These rep­
resentatives, Tupper believed, should be leading members
of their respective cabinets of the (day and thus closely
represent majority opinion in their countries.
They could
P-^ficio sworn members of the Privy Council in the
United Kingdom and thus in position to be called upon to
meet the dabinet whenever it should seem advisable.
advantage of such personal contact between governments
Tupper thought inestimable. On the question of defence Sir
Charles held his ground that no contribution to the Brit­
ish army and navy could begin to equal in imperial import­
ance Canada's construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway
and affiliated steamship line and her opening to British
colonization the great granary of her prairies.
The many criticisms which were made
regarding these theories led to a rebuttal article in the
same periodical for April, 1892, entitled "How to Federate
the Empire: a Reply to Critics," in whichbTupper cited the
words of British statesmen whose views coincided with his
On his theory of defence which received the bitterest
attack, he replied that his references to Canadian promotion
of imperial security were meant as indications of her will­
ingness to cooperate and not as churlish rejections of any
further e x p e n d i t u r e s ^ Principal Grant lauded this article
as he had the first.
With his opinion as to the slowness
of progress toward their goal, Tupper a g r e e d and wrote from
London, r,You are quite right as to the difficulty of making
any impressipn^in this fossilised country, but we can say
with Galilee
'it moves.' "
The Special Committee submitted its
suggestions to the League Council which adopted them.
plan, however, was none too definite.
It centered about a
Council of members to be appointed by the several govern­
ments, which would receive information on foreign policy
and appropriate money for defence.
The means of choosing
representatives, raising contributions and allocating the
amounts were to be left temporarily in separate
state con­
That no real solution was offered is obvious; the
gap between imperial and local control was still unbridged.
Nevertheless, this might have served as a basis for discus­
sion; but by the time of its presentation in 1892, Lord
Salisbury had been succeeded by Mr. Gladstone from whom it
received the expected courteous evasion.
Earl Grey addressed
a powerful pamphlet to the Canadian people, eloquently urging
l/Tugger Papers.IV. No.510- Ontohar ^FTTRQlJ anrl WO-RP1 ■ May 71SO?
2/ibid. No.519. April 25,1892.
them to reject their policy of protecting native industries
and to adopt free trade•
But Canadians generally support­
ed the government in believing protection necessary for a
country which was young industrially in a world of elder
and competitive nations.
In April, 1892, Alexander Mc­
Neill introduced a successful motion in the Canadian Parlia­
ment that if and when the British government should admit
Canadian goods on terms more favourable than foreign imports,
Canada would substantially reduce her duties against Great
This was clearly a victory for imperial federation
and was hailed as such.
The Conference of the Chambers of
Commerce of the Empire again defeated a Tupper motion for
slight differential duties;
but some Englishmen saw in ac­
quiescence on this point the means of distributing the un­
equal burden of imperial defence borne by Great Britain.
Brassey said; "Though a commencement has been made in this
direction, it may well be doubted whether the Colonies will
undertake their fair share of the burden unless we give them
further advantages than a voice in the control of Imperial
questions...I am a staunch believer in the economic advan­
tages of Free Trade to this country, even on the present
one-sided system; but, in my opinion, it is well worth con­
sidering whether we should not gain'more than we lose if, by
l/Commercial policy of the British colonies and the McKinley
tariff (1892T.
2/See McCarthy Papers; D 1Alton McCarthy to A.H.Loring, December 27, 1892.
3/Report of Marquis of Salisbury's speech in a Canadian edi­
torial of May 20,1892 (cutting in Macdonald Papers.1890-1.No.2)
and of Lord Dunraven's speech in the House of Lords, reported
in The Empire. Toronto, May 30,1892.
A/Report in The Empire. Toronto, Jung 30,1892.
entering into reciprocal trade arrangements throughout
the Empire, we induced the Colonies to b^ar their fair
share of the cost of Imperial defence."
The question of colonial contributions
to imperial defeice had never been popular in Canada and,
now that it was being more frequently discussed, began to
loom as a dangerous obstacle to the progress of imperial fed­
In England where imperial defence was an annual
burden, the theory of its proportionate distribution was
appreciated; while in Australasia, an outpost of Empire,
the need of defence was never long-forgotten.
There were
Canadians like George Parkin who felt keenly on this sub­
ject and who appealed in their speeches to national pride;
did Canada as an autonomous nation want to be indefinitely
taken care of like an irresponsible crown colony?
The Tor­
onto Empire reported him as saying; "The British Parliament
votes £14,500,000 sterling for the expenses of the Army and
In what proportion was this cost divided? Of that
vast sum, the taxpayers of the United Kingdom paid 19 shill­
ings, 5 pence, 3 farthings on the pound.
India, which was
entirely under the control of the British Parliament, paid
5i pence; and Australia which has a commerce equal to that
of the Mother Country when the Queen came to the throne,
pays a small fraction of a half-penny in the pound. Canada
I/Brassey.T.A. Problems of empire^ papers and addresses (1904),
p.16; speech at Epsom in 1892.
does not pay the smallest fraction of a farthing.11
Mr. Parkin’s book, Imperial federation: the problem of national unity. was published in 1892.
The volume seems to have been suggested by a group of his
associates in the Imperial Federation League In England who
agreed to provide a fund on which he might draw as he work­
Lorc^Brassey making the most substantial contribution.
The failure to look ahead and plan to meet the conditions
of the future naturally irritated an active person like par­
His forceful phraseology was typical of the vigour of
his mind when he said that a federated Empire would be able
to make a greater "moral and political Impact upon the world.
Part of the volume is devoted to a review of the historic
bases of federalism, and to a brief study of the primary
conditions which would have to be taken into account in each
part of the Empire.
The anomalies
of the existing system
wherein the colonies were excluded from a voice in imperial
policy and British taxpayers defended the whole Empire, were
not conscious injustices but once workable customs now be­
come antequated.
In the federal idea which would establish
joint contribution and control, Parkin felt the AngloSaxons would achieve the crowning point in their politi­
cal evolution. The world need have no fear of such a Brit­
ish confederation, he said, for it would never be used agl/November 30, 1892.
2/parkin,G-.R. Geographical unity of the British Empire(1894) ,
The colonies, Parkin added,must appreciate
the long period during which Great Britain
asked nothing
of them in order that they might open and populate their
vast countries, but they must now realize that isolation is
a fallacy.
The necessity for defence once admitted, it
must be recognized that what could not be achieved for many
decades by each colony, could be enjoyed by all almost at
once were they to contribute to the one national fleet.
the question of trade and fiscal policy, the author doubted
that Britain would reverse the free trade policy which had
so admirably stabilized the national Industries.
While realizing the impetus which
preference would give to imperial federation, Parkin did
not believe that favoured trade relations furnished the
only basis on which federation could be organized. It is
obvious that to him there was a sentimental as well as a
practical basis, that he felt that Britons at home and
overseas should want federation, and not have to be cajol­
ed into it by the promise of economic or political conces­
Defending federationists against the criticism of
having no concrete plan, Mr. Parkin held that to have one
would be to violate the example of their nation’s history
which taught that the permanent achievement was that brought
about by the gradual adaptation of existing machinery to the
new work to be done.
The farthest he would go toward out-
lining a plan was to speak of some common representative
body which might be arranged by a series of imperial con­
ferences, --- and he became almost
prophetic of the twenti­
eth century when he said, "in proportion as dignity is given
to these conferences, and as their decisions are carried
into effect, their influence on the policy of the Empire
would i n c r e a s e .
Despite widespread admiration for
this expression of credo, and Lord Milner's offer to be
one of a group to finance Parkin's lecture tours, dis­
sension had seriously pervaded the ranks of the League,
Most members would have agreed with Parkin that the League
might have continued to furnish a middle ground for dis­
cussion, but the Council had become divided on the question
whether the League program should continue to be based on
propaganda for proportionate contributions to imperial de­
fence* One section of the Council rejected this entirely,
and clung to the idea that the basis should be one of im­
perial preference, and that if this change could not be
made the future of the League would be most insecure*
tariff group, on the other hand, regarded the defence wing
with suspicion.
In Canada it had often been represented
that the chief design of the League was to centralize im­
perial power in London and collect colonial contributions
l/parkin.G-.R. Imperial federation* p*305.
2/Willison*op*cit**p p * 87- 8 : Lord Milner to Parkin, April 24,1893.
for the maintenance of that power*
Sir Charles Tupper
expressed that conviction regarding the activities of
certain leading League members, including Parkin by name.1^
One of Parkinfs closest English
friends, Talbot Baines, of the Leeds Mercury, confirmed
this schism in a letter written to Lady Parkin long after­
The Council of the League had
become strongly divided, chiefly, so far
as I remember, on the question whether the
League programme should continue to be
based mainly on the idea of an Inter-Imperial understanding in regard to the ar­
rangements to be made, navally, and other­
wise, for the defence of the Dominions
against external attack, and as to the pro­
portion of the cost of such arrangements
which could be borne respectively by the
Mother Country and the Dominions! It was,
according to my recollection, on the abso­
lute necessity of such an understand!ng in
the interests of Imperial security and of
justice to the different members of the
Empire that Parkin's propaganda had been
principally based in Great Britain and in
the Dominions. There was, however, a section
of the Council who held that the basis of
the movement should be made one of a fiscal
preference as between the different members
of the Empire. I was strongly opposed to
this change, and so, I believe, were George
Parkin, and Cyril Ransome, but a section of
the Council pressed the view that if this
change of basis could not be made the League
would have to be dissolved,and, indeed, that
it had better be speedily dissolved. 2/
l/See below, p..105.
2/Willison.op.cit.* p p * 93 - 4 ; December 3,1923
This fundamental difference of opinion
which caused the dissolution of the Imperial Federation
League is well illustrated in the correspondence which led
to Tupper1s "breach with the League.
In a private letter of
January 10, 1893, to Casimir Dickinson of the City of Lon­
don "branch, Tupper spoke of the difficulty of obtaining a
favourable report from the League committee regarding a
policy of preferential duties within the Empire:
...Knowing as I do that the most active
members of the Imperial Federation League
were mainly intere sted in levying a large
contribution on the revenues of the Colon­
ies for the support of the Army and Navy
of Great Britain, I am delighted to have
been able almost singlehanded to obtain
such a report from such a committee. Un­
fortunately they captured Mr, Parkin, and
having used him here are now using him in
Canada to create the false impression that
we do nothing to maintain the defence of
the Empire, instead of showing you, as he
truthfully could, that we have entitled
ourselves to the gratitude of every man who
has the interests of the Empire at heart. 1/
This so disturbed the mentors of the League that a. meeting
was called for May 11 to deal with this letter which had been
made public.
correspondence ensued between Edward Stan­
thepresident, and Sir Charles, in which the former as2/
sured Tupper he was mistaken.
Despite Tupper's acceptance
of that declaration, Stanhope professed to find the reply un4/
satisfactory and the original statement not withdrawn.
1/Saunders, o p .cit..p.170*
2/Tupper Papers.IV. No.525; May 2,1893.
3/Saunders,op.cit.,pp.171-2; May 3,1893.
4/Tupper Papers. IV. No.526; May 4,1893.
Charles s astonishment was complete.
A special meeting of the Council was called
for May 6 for the purpose of censuring Sir Charles Tupper.
Colonel Sir Howard Vincent, a member afid founder of the
United Empire Trade League, declined to attend and con­
demned the proposal as a suicidal measure, eulogizing Sir
Charles*s persistent work for imperial federation. ^ The
Hampstead branch of the Imperial Federation League wrote
Sir Charles of its indignation at the League's proposal.
Apparently Tupper was not alone in his criticism of its
ruling group, for the secretary of this branch wrote him*
The history of our relations with the 'League in the United
is rather curious.
At first we regarded it as a
body which was to operate mainly as a centre of organization
in this country and in common with the other London branches.
We entertained the idea of joining it*
But the proposed
terms were so unreasonable and unpracticable that our pro­
test against them created some friction.
When we began to
scrutinise very carefully their whole aim and purpose was
to force the question of Colonial contributions to the front
at all hazards and in the most aggressive fashion."
Sir Charles did not participate in the League
thereafter, but was not censured. He maintained his connecVSaunders.op.clt.. pp.172-3; May 5.1893T~TeTter to Stanhope.
2/Tupper papers. IV. No.527; May 4, 1893.
5/ibid. N o .524. Herman W. Marcus to Sir Charles; April 26, 1893.
tion with the United Empire Trade League, and joined the
British Empire League which was founded May 30,1895*
There was no course left to the Im­
perial Federation League hut to dissolve. Its internal
bickerings were well-known and further advertisement along
that line could only discredit the ultimate goal to which
all parties concerned were still attached.
The defence
faction lost little time in organizing anew on their own
The old league was dissolved on November 24,
1893, and shortly after the first of the year the Imperial
Federation (Defence) Committee was founded under the presi­
dency of Mr. Arthur H. Loring, former secretary of the Im­
perial Federation League.
In addition to its parenthicized
title, it endeavoured to preserve continuity with the past
by taking over the office, records, membership lists and
re-asserting certain of the principles of 1884.
The new
program as adopted and published by the Committee affirmed
the basic resolutions of the Imperial Federation League
Conference of 1884, In an obvious effort to establish con­
tinuity with the original body and cast the onus of seces­
sion upon the tariff wing.
The Committee drew up a prog­
ram of six points which it recognized as "the lesson to
be drawn from the experience of the nine years' working of
the late League."
All of these were defence measures
and illustrate the exclusive concern of the new organiza1/See Appendix II.
tion with that department of imperial affairs.
It is
scarcely necessary to say that no Canadian branches were
But two years later a Canadian Navy League was
founded, a non-political organization to diffuse informa­
tion on naval matters and make Canadians aware of their
dependence on imperial naval defence.
The sudden demise of the Imperial
Federation League came as a great surprise to the Canadian
At the eighth Annual General Meeting held in Mont­
real in February, 1893, Colonel Denison had been elected
president although he was still in England.
Upon his return
he was occupied in re-establishing the League*s business
status, when he received a secret communication from the
secretary of the League in England informing him that there
was a proposal to dissolve.
In a few days the Toronto pap­
ers carried a notice that the question had come-before the
League Council and been adjourned for six months, which
Denison interpreted to mean that it had been sidetracked.
Then suddenly on November 25, 1893, news came by cable to
the press that the League had been dissolved the day before
in accordance with the recommendation of its special com­
None of the thirty-five Canadian Council members
in England had been informed or invited to attend, and much
1/Denison, pp.clt.«p.~197*
ill feeling was aroused*
A lengthy resolution by G.R.R.
Cockburn, member of Parliament, was carried unanimously
at the Canadian Executive Committee meeting of November
27, including as point seven: "The dissolution of the
League in England would therefore be nothing less than
the desertion of the Canadian Branch at a critical period
in its history, and would further appear necessarily to
involve the destruction of the League’s branches
da and elsewhere.
in Cana­
To those at least who are unfriendly to
our aims, it will seem that the great cause, of which this
branch may without exaggeration be said to be the repre­
sentative in Canada, has received a heavy blow indeed at
the hands of its friends,"
not to dissolve.
The Canadians were determined
At the ninth Annual Meeting held in the
Parliament Buildings at Ottawa on May 29, 1894-, motions
were passed to the effect that Canada should lower her
customs duties upon United Kingdom imports aa the first
step in inaugurating imperial preferential trade.
were the future British Empire League and the tariff policy
of Wilfrid Laurier’s government in 1897 foreshadowed.
Colonel Denison headed a delegation
to go to England to confer personally with Sir John Lubbock
who had written asking their aid in reviving the League in
The remnant of the old London group together with
the Canadians proceeded to organize the British Empire
League in July, under the presidency of the Duke of
The proposed constitution framed by the
English group the following May was accepted as that of
the League, with the Canadians insisting on the inclu­
sion of an expression of their policy regarding the Belg­
ian and German treaties. The objects and constitution, as
published by the League, called for the promotion of closer
intercourse in trade, communications and transportation
among the United Kingdom, the colonies and India.
cation of existing foreign treaties which impeded recip­
rocal intra-imperial trade arrangements was to be sought
by common request.
Defence was not neglected; but instead
of a virtual demand for contributions, the principle of
endeavouring to harmonize public opinion at home and in
the colonies was declared.
There followed some months of
propagation, but the formal inauguration was held up until
January 27, 1896, by the storm over the Venezuelan crisis.
Colonel Denison and his fellow Canadians were enthusiastic
over the strong British ministry which had just come into
office including besides Lord Salisbury, the prime minister,
such men as Sir Arthur Balfour, the Duke of Devonshire, the
Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord George Hamilton, Sir Michael
Hicks-Beach and W.H. Long.
The Anglo-American hostility oc­
casioned by the dispute made an imperial cause especially
1/ See Appendix III.
attractive for the time being; and Colonel Denison
again expressed his profound distrust of the United
States as he wrote Charles Mair: ”The great bulk, dis­
honest instincts, and strong hostility of our neighbours,
makes a thoughtful Canadian always anxious,”
The strength of that unspoken kind
of imperial sentiment, sometimes overlooked amid dis­
agreement over its artificial manifestations, was forc­
ibly emphasiged in the face of the Venezuelan crisis,
Alexander McNeill*s loyalty address to the Queen was
passed unanimously in the House, English and French Can­
adians contesting in their support.
Even that prominent
Liberal and dommercial unionist, Sir Richard Cartwright,
said there might have been real danger if President Cleve­
land’s message had been answred in the same tone and ternper in which it was conceived,
Mr. H.F. Wilson, private
secretary to Mr. Chamberlain, replied for the Secretary:
”We have been delighted here at the expressions of the
patriotic spirit of the Dominion during the recent diffi­
culties. I really think we ought to be grateful to the
German Emperor and President Cleveland for their action,
which has undoubtedly gone far to tighten the bonds that
unite the Empire.”
l/Mair Papers, bundle 6; July 31. 1895.
2/Debates., House of Commons. 6th session, 7th Pari. 1896. Vol.I,
p.1196; February 5,1896.
3/Reference to his telegram to Boer President Kruger.
4/Tupper Papers. IV. No.609; March 10 ,1896.
After the return of the Canadian
delegates, a special meeting was held in the Parliament
Buildings on March 4, 1896, to accept the new name and
affiliate with the British Empire League, seven senators
and forty—nine members of Parliament being among the
Colonel Denison continued in office as president.
Just as the dissolution of the Imperial Federation League
in England had been a blow to the movement in Canada, this
reorganization was a great encouragement.
Politicians of
both parties were now persuaded that imperial unity was a
sentiment to be reckoned with.
The fluctuating fortunes of imperial
federalism had not gone unobserved by the several govern­
In March, 1893, the Colonial Office had despatched
a circular letter requesting the collection and forwarding
to that office of newspaper cuttings on the subject of im­
perial federation, and this was continued for several years.
Thomas Macfarlane had submitted a plan of federation to the
Governor-General, Lord Derby, in May.
The carefully worded
reply, meant only for Mr. Macfarlane and not for publica­
tion, expressed interest in guarded and impersonal terms,
concluding* "Lord Derby wishes to be understood as expressing
no opinion at the present time as to the desirability of
formulating a definite constitution for the Federation of
the Empire,
He believes that much may he done - as has
been done already - by assimilation of laws and by repreand
sentation at the Colonial Office^at home through the High
Commissioner, Agents-General, etc, to bring about a close
understanding which is sufficient for many practical pur­
poses, though of course it is no equal to a constitutional
settlement ,l*
The subject of Empire communica­
tions was one in which the interest of federationists was
shared by many others.
The effort to increase trade rela­
tions and facilities between Canada and Australasia had
been impracticable in 1889-90; but a new attempt was more
Accordingly a conference ( not a full con-
, 3/
ference of the Empire) met at Ottawa in the summer of 1894.
Improved Atlantic, Pacific and Canadian land transportation
resulted. The Atlantic service was aided by a British sub­
sidy contingent upon acceleration of the Canadian Pacific
Railway service.
The Pacific arrangement was left to the
Dominion and the colonies.
As Colonial Secretary, Joseph
Chamberlain, told the Governor-General, Lord Aberdeen: the
advantage of such a scheme would be for Canada and Austral­
asia, and while Britain was not indifferent to such an ob­
ject, she could hardly afford to contribute directly to its
1/Governor General-'s^ Letterbook. 27 Nov. 1891 to 26 Dec. 1894-;
July 15, 1893.
2/G series. Letters Received. 1-299. 1894-. No.52. Privy Council
Committee Report, approved, 7 Feb. 1894.
3/See Proceedings of the Colonial Conference of 1894, held in
Ottawa, June 28-July 9. 1894. C.7553.
4 /a series. Despatches from Secretary of State for the Colonies
T 65 -539T 1895. Canada“ No73tX5; 'N6v.21—
1 B 9 5 1 -------------------
Now that there were rival organiza­
tions on the imperial federation front, the battle tended
to become more of a duel for supremacy than a campaign
against those outsiders who were anti-federationist. When
the old Imperial Federation League dissolved, volunteer
speakers made a vigorous effort to continue its activities.
Parkin was chiefly responsible for this group of about
twenty young men drawn mainly flrom Oxford and Cambridge.
They were known as the "Seeley lecturers" from the name
of the first president of the Cambridge branch of the
League, Professor Sir John Seeley.
Parkin himself was
financed by Lords Brassey and Milner on behalf of certain
unnamed persons who undertook to give him the sum of £450 '
annually for a period of three years. It was Parkin* s mis­
fortune that his means were always insufficient for him to
be able to devote himself without assistance to this work
which was his specialty by choice and capacity.
The very
nature of it made it impossible for him to accept too free­
ly of the proffered financial patronage, lest he become
Identified with a party or faction and lose what claim he
had to influence as an impartial speaker.
He filled the press and lecture halls
with his propaganda, but the strain was too severe, and the
results disproportionate to his efforts.
Thus, when he was
offered the principalship of historic old Upper Canada Col-
lege in 1895, he allowed the persuasions of his friends
to prevail, and sailed for Canada. But this administrative
work did not require all of his energies nor prevent his
continued work for the cause of federation.
Sir Charles Tupper was equally ener­
getic in speaking for the British Empire League. At Edin­
burgh in November, 1895, he said that just as Great Brit­
ain s policy of free trade had been dictated by considera­
tions of self-interest, that same need had drawn the colonies to the protective system.
He criticized the atti­
tude of the Imperial Federation (Defence) Committee as ex­
pressed by Mr. Arthur H. Loring who had issued a warning
that the colonies must become a part of the United Kingdom* s
naval system or seek their own safety where they would. Tup­
per *s now familiar argument that Canada’s grants to the Can­
adian Pacific Railway and annual expenditures on militia
were a legitimate contribution to Empire defence never fail­
ed to rouse the ire of the ultra-federationists, one of
whose pamphleteers said Sir Charles’s penurious supporters
”preferred dependency to full national life, and the saving
of one cent in the dollar to rendering the other 99 cents
more secure.”
l/Tupper.Sir C. Economic development of Canada TT895), P .9.
2/Tupper,Sir C • Canada and her relations frith the mother
country (1895), p.11.
3/Tupper,Sir C. Canada in relation to the unity of the Empire
(1894), p.3.
4/Anonymous. Sir Charles Tupper and the unification of the
Empire (1896)7 p .3.
On March 23, 1896, Alexander McNeill intro­
duced a motion*
That it would be to the advantage of Canada
and the Empire as a whole that a small duty (irrespective
of any existing tariff) be levied, by each member of the
Empire against foreign products imported by them, and that
the proceeds from such duties be devoted to purposes of Im—
perial communication and defence."
Sturdy support was giv­
en the motion by N.F. Davin of West Assinboia, who urged,
"one crowded hour of memory, given to us as British men,
is worth any amount of political economy and prosaic stat­
istics telling us how much we have gained and how much lost.
Away with the enthroning this ledger view of national great2/
ness; it is important, but essentially subsidiary."
A long
discussion followed with much quoting of statistics, but the
debate was ultimately adjourned. In the Senate, C.A. Boul­
ton brought in a motion for an imperial customs union based
on a free trade Zollverein*
In his opinion, any slight
dislocation of Canadian industries resulting from such an
enactment, should not be allowed to outweigh such an object.
Sir Mackenzie Bowell, the prime minister, was willing to
support him only if a differential duty in favour of the
colonies were incorporated.
1/Debates.House of Commons. 5th session, 7th Pari. 1896. Vol.II,
2/ibid., p.4401.
3/Debates, Senate. 6th session. 7th Pari. 1896, p.461; April 14,
4/ibid.. p.465.
5/ibid.. pp.475-6.
The United Empire Trade League
and friends of imperial preference everywhere were
elated hy Sir Charles Tupper*s election to the prem­
iership on April 27• Colonel Vincent wrote that they
expected the new ministry "to greatly advance that
Commercial Union throughout the Empire of which you
* U the foremost exponent." V Mr.
have for so long r
Chamberlain wrote a most complimentary account of Sir
Charles*s services in London, where, as High Commis2/
sioner, he was succeeded by Sir Donald Smith.
per*s efforts to secure preferential trade did not
abate, but it chanced that his term was very brief,
ending July 8, less than three months from his elec­
The Conservative party, reputedly the one most
cordial toward the imperial bond, now became the Loyal
Opposition for the next fifteen years.
And yet, oddly
enough, there was no retreat to isolation under the Lib­
erals. On the contrary, Sir Wilfrid Laurier offered a
reduction of duties to the United Kingdom within a year
of taking office!
l/Tupper~Papers.IV. No.595**May 2,1896; and No7^20a, May 7,
2/fi series. Despatches from the Secre tary of State for the Col­
onies . 131-260. 1896. Canada No .1^5 . M r .Chambe rlai n to the
Governor-Gene m l , the Earl of Aberdeen, April 30,1896.
3/Tupper Papers. IV. No.623. Tupper to Sir Howard Vincent, May
4/Chiefly because of the Manitoba schools question.
The Interest of Canadians in securing
the denunciation of the Belgian and German treaties had
won over Mr. Chamberlain, but there was still no pros­
pect of the first move coming from the United Kingdom. To
abrogate the treaties without having already received some
compensatory advantage in other quarters would not be prac­
tical; while the necessity of negotiating with seven sets
of Australasian governments and the "temporary decadence"
of Mr* Cecil Rhodes of South Africa banished any hope of
united colonial action.
The House of Commons could not be
asked to abrogate the treaties in question until some for­
mal offers of preference had been received from the colon­
ies; and to this end the fair traders urged Canada, as the
most interested and most influential party, to make such
an offer.
The brief Tupper regime had not time
to take up this major issue, which was inherited by the
Liberals in July, 1896.
The Liberal party traditionally
advocated free trade restricted only by a small tariff for
l/After his implication in the Jameson Raid. fTupper Papers.
IV. No.601. Colonel Vincent to Sir Charles; February 19 $
1896 ) .
revenue, and had opposed the Conservative protective
When the prosperity promised "by the latter
under their National Policy was not so abundant as
expected, many voters looked to the Liberals for change
and even certain Conservative leaders Spoke of tariff
reform though not by abandoning protection.
The Dingley
tariff then being prepared in the United States afforded
great contrast to the liberal British reception of Can­
adian imports.
The shrewd French economist, Andre^Sieg-
fried, was later to remark that, "it seemed almost as if
this policy of showing no consideration for a friendly
neighbour had been purposely conceived by the White House
to bind more closely the ties between Canada and England."
This the Liberals could not fail to see; nor could they ig­
nore the representations of manufacturers opposing the
abolition of the tariff which had established their indust­
The new Liberal government found Itself between two
"On the one hand, it was expected to redeem its
pledges to favour the consumer and lower the tariff, while
on the other it was urged to respect the established system
under which the industries of the country had been protect­
ed from hostile competition.
The principle of reciprocal
tariffs afforded a clue to a practical policy of ingenious
compromise, which would enable the government to claim the
1/Siegfried.A. "Canada (1937), p.179•
virtual redemption of its pledges, while at the same
time avoiding the unpopular course of apparently turning
the other cheek to the United States." ^
The Fielding tr^iff of 1897 which
took its name from the Finance Minister, W.S. Fielding,
former premier of Nova Scotia, proved to be a moderate
but substantial reduction of about 12-£?$>, with variations
in the Instance of certain commodities.
The significant
feature was the establishment of preferential rates. Coun­
tries granting favourable terms to Canada received the re­
duction at once, and the pledge was made to extend this
preference to 25^ and later 33 l/3 %•
Comparison of
statistics for Canadian-United Kingdom trade indicates
that the preference together with the Dingley Tariff Act
served to arrest the decline of British imports and to
stabilize the mutual gain in their commerce.
iM fc R T S
g * PoRTS
t a l s
7 7 , £ Z L 7 , £ - o£
m i,
f t ir
i n i
H ,
^7772, 2
/r9 7
l $9?
79, o f t , r y y
I & 7 , Z & f ?
io t,s *l7 ,» 7 ¥
/8 '? 9
(Compiled from Sessional Papers XXXV. Vol.4, first session
of ninth Parliament of Dominion of Canada. Session 1901;
Sessional Paper No.10, pp.26-7. See also Appendix IVO.
1/Shortt.Adam. Preferential trade between Britain and Canada
(1904), p.4.
It was the desire of the govern­
ment to give this advantage to Great Britain alone, hut
by virtue of the special clauses In her commercial treat­
ies with Belgium and Germany, those countries also benefitted by this initial reduction.
The discomfltted Tup-
per, so precipitately retired from public life, sought to
describe this as a deliberate return to the old-time Lib1/
eral free trade.
But now that the required leverage had
been provided, Britain denounced those treaties in response
to a request from the premiers of all the self-governing
Accordingly, Canada implemented her promise;
she increased the preference rate to 25/
and modified the
language of the enactment to limit its benefits specifi­
cally to the British Empire.
Sir Charles was greatly
cheered by this proof of good faith and the fact that his
statement as to the necessary steps had been sustained.
A brief tariff war took place between Belgium, Germany,
ahd Canada; but looking ahead it should be remarked that
by 1914 the preference thus initiated by Canada had been
extended to create a sizeable imperial tariff union.
There can be no question but that
the tariff bolstered the political capital of the Liber­
als by enabling them to appear more loyal than the Con1/Tupper Papers.V. No.675a. Sir Charles to Colonel Vincent;
May 18, 1897.
2/ln 1898; extended to 33 1/3 % In 1900.
3/Tupper Papers. V* No.681©.
Sir Charles to his son, Charles
Hibbert Tupper; August 15,1897; and No.695. to Colonel Vin­
cent; September 1, 1898.
servatives, whose ultra--loyalty had often been derided
as toryism.
At the same time, the latter were incon­
gruously driven into the oppositionist complaint against
a gratuitous concession which did not exact any quid pro
The British press faithfully mir­
rored the wave of pro-Canadian feeling which the announce­
ment had occasioned both in Parliament and in the country
generally, and there was much lionizing of Canadians present in England.
A strange link between political economy
and literature was also revealed when the tariff Inspired
Rudyard Kipling*s stately, if meteorologically inaccurate,
paean of April 27, with its significant opening quatrain.
Our Lady of the Snows
A nation spoke to a nation,
A queen sent word to a throne,
Daughter am I in my mother*s house,
But mistress in my own.
The gates are mine to open
As the gates are mine to close,
And I set my house in order,
Said Our Lady of the Snows.
Neither with laughter nor weeping,
Fear or the child*s amaze,
Soberly under the white man’s law
My white men go their ways.
Not for the Gentile*s clamour,
Insult or threat of blows,
Bow we the knee to Baal,
Said Our Lady of the. Snows.
1/Report in Dally Mall and~Empire, Toronto; April 28, 1897.
My speech is clear and single,
I talk of common things,
Words of the wharf and market-place,
And the ware the merchant brings*
Favour to those I favour
But a stumbling block for my foes,
Many there be that hate us,
Said Our Lady of the Snows.
I called my chiefs to council,
In the din of a troubled year,
For the sake of a sign ye would not see
And a word ye would not hear,
This is our message and answer,
This is the path we chose,
For we be also a people,
Said Our Lady of the Snows.
Carry the word to my sisters
The queens of the east and south,
I have proved faith in the heritage
By more than the word of the mouth.
They that are wise may follow,
Ere the world's war-trumpet blows,
But I, I am first in the battle,
Said Our Lady of the Snows.
A nation spoke to a nation,
A queen sent word to a throne,
Daughter am I in my mother's house,
But mistress in my own.
The gates are mine to open
As the gates are mine to close,
And I abide by my mother's house,
Said Our Lady of the Snows*
Now that imperial preference was half
realized, the British Empire League and United Empire
Trade League sought to complete the circle by securing
British preference for colonial imports, admittedly a
difficult task.
Canadian preference for Britain had been
granted without any corresponding change in the protection
1st policy applied against other countries. But for
the United Kingdom to establish an imperial preference,
that country would have to give up its tradition of free
trade and become protectionist, to some degree, toward
the alien world.
The British Empire League was reorgan­
ized to undertake the campaign.
The energetic Colonel
Denison remained president; there were vice-presidents
for each province and the Northwest Territories, including
such familiar names as D'Alton McCarthy and Alexander
McNeill of Ontario, Sir Donald Smith and Archibald McGoun
of Quebec, and Archbishop 0*Brien of Nova Scotia.
The ex­
tent to which the League remained a focal point for imper­
ialists of every degree was demonstrated by the fact
Sir Sandford Fleming, Thomas Macfarlane, George Parkin,
and Sir Charles Tupper‘were colleagues upon the Executive
Committee roster.
Colonel Denison took great pride in the
Toronto branch which was his special province; in March,
1897, it claimed 300 paid up members with likelihood of
reaching 1000.
The League in England was under the
presidency of the Duke of Devonshire; Sir John Lubbock was
treasurer, and C. Freeman Murray, the secretary.
vice-presidents were a galaxy of nobility; the Lord Mayor
of London, Governor of the Bank of England, the Dukes of
Fife and Rutland, the Marquess of Duffer in and Ava, the
Earls of Crew, Jersey and Onslow, Lords Brassey and Roths­
child, and members of Parliament A. J. Balfour and Sydney
C. Buxton.
Twelve Canadians were members of the Executive
I/Fleming Papers. Vol.21. Denison to Sir Sandford, March 27,1897.
Committee in the United Kingdom.
The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Vic­
toria’s reign was a great occasion for British subjects
Britain was alive with a quickened interest
in the Empire, and the festivities of the Jubilee were to
be supplemented by another Conference of Empire ministers.
Shortly before the departure of the Canadian delegation,
the elderly Senator, David Wark of Fredericton, New Bruns­
wick, proposed a successful motion to the effect that at
this time, so favourable for a tightening of imperial ties,
Canada should take the lead.
The lowering of duties
against Britain was hailed as a long step in this direction,
and Canadians anticipated Mr. Laurierfs influence at the'
The Prime Minister, who became Sir Wilfrid in
the United Kingdom and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour
in France, was feted wherever he went.
His striking appear­
ance, vibrant personality and eloquence made him the cyno­
sure of attention at all functions.
Although standing for
equal Dominion status with Britain in the Empire, his ad­
dresses stressed imperial unity in a manner which was a
considerable change from his earlier outlook.
At a British
Empire League banquet for the visiting premiers, Laurier
spoke of imperial political union as being an issue of the
future, but commercial unions as a vital question of the day.
1/Debates, Senate. 2d session, 8th Par1. 1897, p .446; June 3, 1897.
Canada had reduced her tariff, he said, "not asking any
There is a class of our fellow citizens
Qi.e. the Conservative party]
who ask that all such
concessions should he made for a quid pro quo. The Can­
adian Government has ignored all such sentiments. We have
done it because we owe a debt of gratitude to Great Britain."
Without proffering a formal agenda,
Mr. Chamberlain opened the first meeting of the Colonial
Conference on June 24-, 1897, with a survey of the subjects
most worthy of consideration.
He spoke of the unanimity
as to the advantages of closer imperial union, but with
recognition that it must be a spontaneous evolution.
...In this country, at all events, I may
truly say that the idea of federation is
in the air. Whether with you it has gone
as far, it is for you to say, and it is
also for you to consider whether we can
give any practical application to the
principle. It may well be that the time
is hardly ripe for anything definite in
this regard. It is quite true that our own
constitution and your constitutions have
all been the subject of very slow growth
and that they are all the stronger because
they have been gradually consolidated, and
so perhaps with Imperial Federation; if it
is ever to be accomplished, It will be only
after the lapse of a considerable time and
only by gradual steps. 3/
The more definite reference to federation, which he charac­
terized as a purely personal suggestion, was that it might
IL/The Times , London; June 14,1897.
2/See Proceedings. C. 8596.
3/Keith,A .B .(ed. J. Se lected speeches and document s of British
colonial policy, 1763-3917. II (1918), 211.
be practicable to create a council of the Empire to
which the colonies would send representative^'pleni­
potentiaries, --- not mere delegates unable to speak
without further reference to their respective govern­
ments w—
but persons who would be authorized to give
really effective and valuable advice.
He also advo­
cated a closer tariff union, centralization in defence
based on colonial contributions for the imperial navy,
and the seating of colonial judges on the Judicial Com­
mittee of the Privy Council which served as an imperial
court of appeal.
The prime ministers agreed to dis­
cuss these questions with their respective home govern­
ments, but on that of political organization they agreed
on an immediate and almost unanimous (but for New Zealand
and Tasmania) resolution that the existing political rela­
tions were generally satisfactory.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier
was chiefly responsible for this firm attitude and its un­
equivocal expression. Prominent speakers at gatherings
other than the Conference sessions voiced opinions on
these matters.
The Duke of Devonshire, presiding at a
British Empire League meeting, commented that the subjects
under discussion by the Conference were almost identical
with those in the constitution of the League.
The Chanl/C.8596, pp.5-6.
2/The Times, London; July 6,1897.
cellor of the Exchequer, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, fav­
oured colonial contributions to the navy. Mr. G-oschen,
First Lord of the Admiralty, gracefully alluded to the
# subject by saying "it seemed to him that on a festive
occasion one did not like to see leaflets distributed
stating that contributions would be thankfully received."
Amid the Jubilee enthusiasm dis­
sent spoke with a very small voice.
The Montreal Gazette
chided John Charlton, member of Parliament, for his adher­
ence to commercial union, saying, "The member for North
Norfolk is plainly of slower mental methods than most of
his old-time political colleagues. He is still where the
party camped in 1891.
ish now."
Mr. Laurier's followers are Brit-
Edward Blake (later a member of the Home Rule
faction in the British Parliament), was suspected of a de­
sire to unseat Laurier when he spoke at a National Club
banquet in Toronto on December eighth.
When he stressed
the divergence of interests between mother country and
colonies and made uncomplimentary reference to the federationists, Parkin and Denison made an oratorical sally for
the defence.
The former wrote an account to his wife; " I
gave them ten minutes without gloves
working up to a
climax in which I declared that no man could be a leader in
1/ibid. .July 3^f 1897.
2/October 22, 1897.
Canada who entertained such views as those we had listen­
ed to.
The place went wild with applause."1^
The height of the discussion of im­
perial preference did not come until 1902-3 , but it was
never out of public notice after the passage of the Field­
ing Act.
The Conference had provided an open house for
discussion; but action in separate legislatures moved at
quite a different tempo.
In May, 1896, Alexander McNeill
(called the "Father of the Empire" by the Liberals) intro­
duced the motion that a bilateral customs preference be
established within the Empire.
Mr. McNeill spoke of the
non-partisan nature of the policy of imperial unity, and
of the fact that it was currently supported by both part4/
ies, not merely by the Conservatives.
The motion, he
said, asked for nothing; it was a simple affirmation of
principle. Members were not generally very sanguine about
the likelihood of Britain*s adopting any principle danger­
ous to the profits which free trade had brought her.
government put forward an amendment to side-track the is­
sue. A year later Sir Charles Tupper tried to revive the
motion in altered form,
but the government continued to
2/Bourassa,H. G-reat Britain and Canada (1902), p.43.
3/Debates. House of Commons. 3rd session, 8th Pari. 1898.
II, p.5808; May 18,1898.
4/ibid., pp.5810-11.
5/J. McMullen and R.R. Dobell.
6/Debates .House of Commons. 4th session, 8th Pari. 1899.
III, p.7774; July 19, 1899.
evade going on record on these imperial questions and
retained its suspicion of imperial federation. Messrs.
Casgrain and Bourassa challenged its knowledge of a federationist pamphlet, prefaced hy R.R.Dobell (member of
Parliament) and done at the Government Printing Office.
It was substantiated, however, that the opinions, costs
and distribution were the personal concern of Mr. Dobell
and that.the government was in no way implicated. ^
In view of the imperial sentiments
advertized by the Conference of 1897, the action of the
Liberal government at the outbreak of the South African
war seemed wholly inadequate to many persons. The history
of imperial federation as an organization had made it
clear that Canada would not take the lead in imperial de­
fence as she had in imperial preference.
The Ottawa govern­
ment was beset with the conflicting demands of the British
loyalists, Quebec isolationists, and strict nationalists.
Parliament was not in session; therefore announcement was
made through an Order-In-Council that the government would
equip and send 1000 volunteers to South Africa.
It was to
be an unofficial contingent, and no precedent was intended.
During the war 7000 more volunteers sailed; of this number
nearly one-third were sent by the Dominion, the others by
the British government or Lord Strathcona.
The aging Sir
I/ibid., 5th session, 8th Pari. 1900. Ill, pp.788'4-5-J une 20,
1900; p p 9 7 7 7 - 9 7 - J u l y 11,1900.
2/The former Sir Donald Smith, capitalist, enriched by his
position in the Canadian Pacific Railway and Hudson's Bay
Charles Tupper had lost none of his lively interest in
politics. Both the numher of troops sent and the arrange­
ments as to their pay seemed to him inadequate, and he
wrote Laurier saying he yet hoped to see an efficient
force sent out and one "properly paid by the Dominion,"
In reply Laurier stated that his action had followed the
plan prepared by the Secretary of State for War and that,
"I question whether in a matter of this kind it would be
advisable to be ’more loyal than the Queen' or wiser than
the Secretary of State for War and the Commander-in-Chief."
Colonel Denison tried to urge fuller action; and Parkin,
also, was dissatisfied. Writing to Lord Milner (High Commis­
sioner in South Africa) in 1900, Parkin described Laurier
as catering to the French vote in Quebec in his anxiety to
live down the epithet "imperial!st"^applied to him to under­
mine his strength in that province.
The Quebec viewpoint
was amply illustrated in the next session when the govern­
ment asked the House to ratify
war expenditures. Henri
Bourassa was of the opinion that if the Order-in-Council
were sincere, there could be no objection to a parliamentary
ratification of the no-precedent declaration.
Prime min­
ister and opposition leader cooperated to quelch the motion,
very nearly on a unanimous vote.
Laurier*s record sustained
him in the general elections of 1900.
1/Saunders.op.olt.,pp.23^~7; October 14,1899.
2/ibid., pp.237-8-; October 14, 1899.
5/Debates.House of_ Commons. 5th session, 8th Pari. 1900, I,
The service of colonial with
home troops brought high praise from British spokes1/
men such as the prime minister, Lord Salisbury, the
Earl of Rosebery
and the Duke of Devonshire, But
others were not so satisfied.
The indefinite colonial
contributions seemed sheer caprice to the orderly minds
of the Imperial Federation (Defence) Committee, for
whom defence was the only basis for a federated Empire.
The current war and the imminence of Australasian con­
federation made the issue most Opportune,
Mr. Loring
bluntly charged that the colonies were protected at no
cost to themselves, ’’and that human nature being as it
is, they prefer these assurances to a place of full dig­
nity and citizenship in the Empire which would also en5/
tail some responsibility in the maintenance thereof.”
The Committee sent Lord Salisbury a series of definite
suggestions adopted at a meeting held at the House of
Commons, March 15, 1900, to be laid before the proposed
Conference on defence.
Laurier's cold reply to Chamber­
lain’s circular suggesting such a conference aroused
criticism in many quarters and Parkin proposed that those
in a position to do so might inform representatives from
the other colonies that Laurier*s aloofness was personal
l/Boura ssa.op .cit . Appendix , i~* speech at British Empire
League banquet, April 30,1900.
2/ibid.. xli-xlii; speech at Chatham, January 23,1900.
3/ibid., li-lii; British Empire League meeting, July 23,1900
4/Loring,A.H.The colonies and imperial defence (1903), p.2.
5/ibid. ,p .5.
j6/lmperial Federation (Defence) Committee. No.14. Jl900?L
rather than Canadian. Parkin hoped for sufficient popular
protest to "make him feel that when he goes over he carried his political life in his hands."
The Governor—
General, Lord Minto, wrote Parkin that he considered
the unwillingness to discuss defence the worst occurrence
in an imperial sense since he had been in Canada.
correspondence between Lord Milner and Parkin reveals the
impatience of the federationists. Milner wished that-the
colonies would clamour more for representation in the coun3/
oils of the Empire.
He found that "The existing Parlia­
ments, whether British or Colonial, are too small, and so
are the statesmen they produce.. .Look at the way in which
the splendid opportunities for federal defence which the
present war afforded have been thrown away."
In 1902 the Dominion and colonial
premiers were invited to attend the coronation of Edward
VII and a Colonial Conference.
The agenda stated a triple
purpose: recommendations for constitutional union, contri­
butions to the imperial navy, and more intimate trade re­
Societies, press and Parliaments spent the spring
months in a discussion of Canada1s position at the Confer­
ence. Parkin, who had never regarded preferential trade as
2/ibid.,p.235; March 27, 1902.
3/ibid.,p.232; Milner to Parkin, May 12,1900.
4/ibid. ,p .233; Milner to Parkin, September 13, 1901.
a primary issue, was willing to support it for the
sake of unity at this Conference which would he watched by an unfriendly world.
The British Empire League had
taken a new position on the defence question. A Canad­
ian deputation was commissioned to present the sugges­
tion - "That a special duty of %
or 10% should be im­
posed at every port in the British possessions on all
foreign goods; the proceeds to be ddvoted to Imperial
defence, by which each part would not only be doing its
duty toward the common defence, but at the same time be
receiving a preference over the foreigner in the markets
of the Empire.11
Colonel Denison had many talks with Mr.
Chamberlain and other ministers, and was hopeful of converting them to preferential tariffs.
Another project supported by the
League for some years was that of Sir Sandford Fleming for
the establishment of a Pan-Britannic system of stateowned telegraph cables, a nationalization of communications
by land and sea throughout the Empire. This had been a major
question at the Ottawa Conference of 1894-, and remained one
in the records of the League and successive conferences until
2/Penjson.op.cit..p.287: see also Debates. House of Commons.
2d session. 9th Pari. 1902. II, p.2735; speech of W.F.Maclean, April 15, 1902.
3/Mair Papers, bundle 5; July 3,1903, Denison to Charles Mair.
the final achievement of the "all red line.”
The Quebec Chroni cle sought to
prod Laurier to action by calling his government the
”tool of the Bourassa anti-imperialism,”
and admitting
the justice of colonial contributions to imperial defence.
The Conservatives had by this time taken a position blaming
the Liberals for not securing complete imperial preference;
that is, for not persuading the British government to give
a preference to Canada such as the Dominion had given in
All manner of political pressure was now borne upon
the government not to repeat this sin of ommission at the
coming Conference.
Under war-time exigencies the British
goverffiunent had recently laid a small duty on wheat; it was
through the Laurier government’s inertia, Mr. W.F.Maclean
charged, that this opportunity to secure preference for
Canada had been allowed to slide.
Sir Wilfrid replied
that he had been told repeatedly in I896 that a preference
l/For the whole course of the negotiations see the immense
collection in the Sandford Fleming papers. Vol.23 contains
a letter of Sir Sandford to Lord Elgin, January 26, 1905,
detailing the late progress of his scheme. In 1900 an agree­
ment to give effect to the plan was entered into by Great
Britain, Canada, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and
New Zealand. It was reeforced by a unanimous resolution of
the fifth Congress of the Chambers of Commerce of the Emp­
ire, at Montreal in August ,1903* The last obstacle was the
tenacious privately-owned Eastern Extension Telegraph Comp­
any which had earlier laid a cable from Australia to Asia
with Australian subsidies. Its effort to preserve its monop­
oly was carried to the point of attempting to prevent or gain
control of the new imperial Pacific cable.
2/April 7,1902.
3/The Chronicle, Quebec; April 11, 1902.
4/Debates.House of Commons. 2nd session, 9th Pari. 1902. II,
p .27^5; T .S.Sproule, April 15, 1902.
5/ibid..pp.2943-5; April 17,1902.
offer from Canada would be reciprocated by Great
Britain, but time had proved otherwise. Nevertheless,
he defended his gratuitous favour to Great Britain as
one which had nearly doubled Dominion trade with Brit1/
ain within five years.
Robert L. Borden (who had suc­
ceeded Sir Charles Tupper as Conservative party leader
in 1901) enquired as to the government's proposed course
at the Conference regarding defence. The prime minister
ansra*ed that the delegation would discuss the question,
11but neither my colleagues nor myself believe that any
useful purpose can be served by such discussion.”
It is not surprising, therefore, to
find Laurier leading the opposition to Chamberlain's
proposal for an imperial council of ministers, advisory
in its initial usage, but possibly developing into an
executive and legislative organ for foreign policy, de­
fence and trade.
The Colonial Secretary borrowed the
very language of that mentor of the Imperial Federation
(Defence) Committee, Sir John Colomb, urging that colonial
non-contribution during political Infancy was as logical
as its rejection by adult nations is illogical.
But Sir
Wilfrid held that advice entailed support, and that Canada
was not ready to pledge active support of British foreign
policy or wars, nor to limit her autonomy.
I7ibid.,p.4728; May 12, 1902.
2/ibid.,p.4726; May 12, 1902.
On the question of trade, resolu—
tions were adopted by the Conference recognizing the im­
perial value of preference over free trade, and urging
upon His Majesty's government the expediency of British
preferential treatment for colonial imports. The Memor­
andum of the Canadian ministers at the Colonial Confer­
ence revealed that Mr. Chamberlain was unable to accept
these proposals. While appreciating the good feeling mani­
fested by the preference, the government of the United
Kingdom did not feel that the material results had been
sufficient to justify Its departure from the established
fiscal policy.
A Canadian memorandum was submitted to
summarize the advantages received by Britain from Canad­
ian preference, and an even greater concession was to be
considered if Canada received the desired preference in
British markets.
The Finance Minister, W.S. Fielding,
read this report to the House, and explained that an ad­
visory body such as the Conference could not dictate but
only recommend legislation. The tariff question should
not be considered as having failed, he said; "the end is
not yet."
But opposition in the British cabinet pre­
vented such action.
Chamberlain later told Colonel Deni­
son that Sir Michael Hicks-Beach had objected to a colon­
ial preference because he had just placed a duty of a shilll/Proceedings. Cd.1299, p.37.
2/pebates. House of Commons. 3rd session, 9th Pari. 1903.
I, p.1405; April lS, 1903.
ing a quarter on wheat to raise revenue for war pur­
poses and, with the war just closing, the outlay could
not be diminished for some months.
And, of course,
the free traders had never ceased their opposition. As
the Cobden Club secretary dourly stated the case for
the farmer, "if he is to be ruined by competition from
abroad, he would as lief that the last nail were driven
into his coffin by Argentine beef as New Zealand mutton.M
In the events that Great Britain did not adopt the pref­
erence principle, Canada had reserved the freedom to
take "necessary action" to safeguard her interests. This
was interpreted as a gentle allusion to the probable re­
vocation of the preference; and there is some possibility
that Secretary Chamberlain’s campaign forestalled a with­
Mr. Chamberlain made a challenging
speech at Birmingham on May 15, 1903; and then resigned
from the government and launched his Tariff Reform move5/
ment, staking his political life on the battle.
On Oc­
tober 6 he struck his opening blow of the campaign at
Glasgow, presenting a preference which would mean a tax
on food as the alternative to the repeal of preference by
the colonies. The cry against a food tax was the most popu­
lar rallying-point of his opponents, but Mr. Chamberlain
outlined his sketch plan
which with his customary forth-
1/Denison.op.cit.,p .334-.
2/Cox,H. The policy of free imports (1903), p.31.
3/Cd.1299, pp.37-8.
A/jebb,R . op.cit.,1, 370.
5/Garvin, op.cit., III, 631.
rightness analyzed that very point.
You have heard it said that I
propose to put a duty of 5s. or 10s. a
quarter on wheat. That is untrue. I pro­
pose to put a low duty on foreign corn,
no duty at all on the c o m coming from
our British possessions. But I propose
to put a low duty on foreign corn not ex­
ceeding 2s. a quarter, I propose to put
no tax whatever on maize, partly because
maize is a food of some of the very poorest
of the population, and partly also because
it is a raw material for the farmers, who
feed their stock with it. I propose that
the corresponding tax which will have to be
put on flour should give a substantial pref­
erence to the miller and I do that in order
to re-establish one of our most ancient in­
dustries in this country, believing that if
that is done hot only will more work be found
in agricultural districts, with some tendency,
perhaps, operating against the constant migra­
tion from the country into the towns, and also
because by re-establishing the milling indust­
ry in this country the offals, as they are
the refuse of the wheat
will re­
main in the country and. will give to the far­
mers of the agricultural population a food
for their stock and their pigs at very much
lower rates....I propose to put a small tax
of about
on foreign meat and dairy produce.
I propose to exclude bacon because once more
bacon is a popular food with some of the poor­
est of the population...And lastly, I propose
to give a substantial preference to our Col­
onies upon colonial wines and p^haps upon col­
onial fruits.
But I propose also some great remis­
sions. I propose to take off three-fourths of
the duty on tea, and half of the whole duty on
sugar, with a corresponding reduction on cocoa
and coffee....As regards the cost of living, I
have accepted, for the purpose of argument, the
figures of the Board of Trade as to the consump­
tion of an ordinary workman's family, both in
the country districts and in the towns, and I
find that if he pays the whole of the new duties
that I propose to impose it would coat an agri-
cultural labourer 16-|- farthings per week
more than at present, and the artisan in
the town 19s- farthings per week. In other
words, it would add about 4d per week to
the expenditure of the agricultural labour­
er and 5d per week on the expenditure of
the artisan. But then, the reduction which
I propose, again taking the consumption as
it is declared by the Board of Trade, the
reduction would be, in the,case of the agri­
cultural labourer 17 farthings a week; in
the case of the artisan 19^ farthings a
week....If I give my opponents the utmost
advantage, if I say to them what I do not
believe, if I grant that the whole tax is
paid by the consumer, even in that case my
proposal would give as large a remission on
the necessary articles of his life as it im­
poses. As a result of the advantage upon
necessary articles the budget at the end of
the week or the result at the end of the
year will be practically the same even if
he pays the whole duty. But if he does not
pay the whole duty, then he will get all the
advantages to which I have already referred.
In the case of the agricultural labourer he
will gain about 2d a week, and in the case
of the town artisan he will gain 2-Jd. a week. 1/
The Times was dubious as to working class
willingness to tax food for imperial objects, and the irate
J.A. Hobson blasted the policy as an enemy of international
morality which destroyed "the free self expression and inter4/
course of nations.”
There was something of a flurry in the
Canadian Parliament over the spurious report of an interview
with the Finance Minister in which he had said his party was
ready to go to the country in support of Mr. Chamberlain’s
scheme, but Mr. Fielding denied it at once.
The Canadian
l/Chamberlaln.J. Policy of imperial preference (speech at Glas­
gow, October 6, 1903) TI903), pp.17-20.
2/October 7, 1903.
3/Author of the intemperate Imperi alism, a study(1902).
4/Hobson, J .A. "inner meaning of protectionism/’ Contemporary
Review, 84 (1903), 374.
5/Debates, House of Commons. 3rd session, 9th Pari. 1903. VI,
pp. 13936-7.
writer Adam Shortt made a rather succinct appraisal
when he said uWhat the imperial preferential advocates
on the two sides of the Atlantic are trying to do is to
divide an expected mutual benefit in such a fashion that
each party shall receive about three-fourths of it, on
the ground that the other must concede something extra
for the sake of sentiment.11
In December, Mr. Chamberlain in­
dicated in a letter to Sir Charles Tupper that an expres­
sion from him as to the possible outcome for Canada if
preferential arrangement with G-reat Britain were withheld,
would strengthen his hand.
Tupper at once complied and
raised the old ghost of annexation, stressing Dir. Charl­
ton* a continued advocacy of commercial union.
Because of
Tupper1s long-standing opinions one need not doubt his
sincerity although the letter was made-to-order*
...Fallacious as are many of his argu­
ments, you will at once see how attractive they
would become if Great Britain should fail to em­
brace the present opportunity to secure the unity
of the Empire.
...You have no doubt seen the use that
is being made of your speeches in the Senate of
the United States to ensure cooperation with Mr.
Charlton’s views...You are undoubtedly right in
supposing that we are approaching the parting of
the ways, and the gravest issues may result from
any failure to now secure the consolidation of
the Empire. 2/
i/Imoerlal preferential trade from a Canadian point of view~
(1904), pp.53-57
2/Saundera.op.olt..pp.260-1; January 12, 1904.
And, indeed, Edward Farrer of commercial union fame
was writing that the imperialists must imagine that
Canada was "divided from the United States by some sort
of antiseptic atmosphere through which American ideas
cannot filter."
Furthermore, the Alaska award of 1903 bad
given rise to a considerable belief in the Dominion that
Canadian interests were being sacrificed for the general
betterment of imperial foreign relations.
During the political struggle of 1905-6
in England, Tupper sought to aid Chamberlain by a reminder
that while Laurier and Fielding had offered to increase
the present preference if exempted from British duties on
foodstuffs, they had also stated that if no such recipro­
cal preference were given Canada they would feel free to
repeal what they had enacted.
But this argument and
those publicized during Mr. Chamberlain's strenuous cam­
paign failed to carry the day.
The victory of Campbell-
Bannerman and the Liberals closed this phase of imperial­
Social reform, the naval question and the diplomatic
chess-board became the leading concerns of the country.
Chamberlain, despite this set-back, wrote Tupper that he
would never give up the position he had taken but would
carry on the struggle.
Colonel Denison would not conl/Fftrrftr^. "Canada and the new imperialism." Contemporary Re­
view, 84 (1903), 764.
2/Saunders.op p .262-3; January 2, 1906.
3/Tupper Papers. VI. No.855; February 8, 1906.
cede defeat either, and genuinely sought to master the
difficult art of patience.
In a private letter he said:
Chamberlain is advocating exactly
what I have been working for for 18 years.
I tried hard to get him with me in 1890 I have been often at him since. When I was
oyer in 1902, I think I helped to convince
him that the time had come to act. I have
been urging them in England for the last 18
months to resign and not appeal to the coun­
try and I am glad to see that they have taken
that course, in spite of the fact that some
thought it savoured of American methods. Mr.
Chamberlain has been telling me for the last
year and a half that I must expect to see his
policy beaten at this election, but that we
must be patient in Canada and give him time and
it will come all right. He says this new Govern­
ment will have to be in for a year or two, and
then lie will carry the country. So we must
stand firm and give him time. 1/
The long strain on Mr. Chamberlain*s
health and endurance culminated in an illness which prevent­
ed his participation in the Sixth Congress of the Chambers
of Commerce that year as well as any subsequent return to
public life.
The Canadian offer was still standing in 1907,
but the British ministry was not disposed to renew the dis­
Thus, the imperial preference movement had come
to a stalemate; its most influential advocate was removed,
and the party most favourable to it had been defeated at the
The issue did not reappear In imperial politics un­
til the war-time Conference and resolutions of 1917.
1/Malr Papers, bundle 5; Denison to Mair. December 23, 1905.
remained for a Canadian who dissented from Mr. Chamber­
lain's theories to estimate; "one thing is certain that
in his own words he 'burnt into the English mind1 a con­
ception of the value of the Colonies as consumers of
British goods in time of peace and as powerful allies in
time of war which had scarcely existed before."
In conclusion, it will have been ob­
served that imperial federation had for some years been
overshadowed by imperial preference.
George Parkin, Lord
Milner, Sir Frederick Young, Lord Rosebery and others had
never ceased to propose imperial councils or parliaments
but with dwindling response.
proposals may be reviewed.
A few of the later pre-war
Sir Frederick Pollock unoffic­
ially suggested an imperial council, but Canadian Liberals
and Conservatives were agreed in rejecting it.
The new
Colonial Secretary, Lord Lyttleton, proposed in 1905 to
change the Colonial Conference name to that of an Imperial
Council, a motion which Canada promptly vetoed. The cabinet
communicated its rejection to the Governor-General, saying:
...A Conference is a more or less uncon­
ventional gathering for informal discussion of
public questions, continued it may be, from time
to time, as circumstances external to itself
l/Farrer Papers. Vol.3. Miscell.- re trade- 1905-14. Undated
article entitled "Imperial development.").
2/Tupper Papers. V I . No.879; Sir Charles to Laurier, April 26,
may render expedient, but possessing
no faculty or power of binding action
....The term 1Council* on the other
hand, indicates in the view of your
Excellency*s ministers, a more formal
assemblage possessing an advisory and
deliberative character, and in conjunc­
tion with the word 1Imperial* suggest­
ing a permanent institution which, en­
dowed with a continuous life, might
eventually come to be regarded as an
encroachment upon the full measure of
autonomous legislative and administrat­
ive power now enjoyed by all the selfgoverning Colonies. 1/
At the Conference of 1907 Laurier*s
suggestion was accepted charing the name from Colonial
to Imperial Conference. This recognized that the colon37
ial status was outgrown; but also provided a safeguard,
by the word **Conference**, against any appearance of a
federated state, as Laurier had assurtfed his parliament
he would do.
And again it was Laurier who led the op57
position to Sir Joseph Ward's
comprehensive imperial
federation defence plan, laid before the Imperial Confer­
ence of 1 9 1 1
probably the most painstaking arrange­
ment devised to that date.
1/Kennedy,W .P .M . Statutes . treaties and documents of the
Canadian constitution. 1713-1929. (1930), No.CXCI.
2/See "Proceedings. Cd.3523 and Papers. Cd.3524.
3/Ewart,J.S. The kingdom of Canada (1908), p.47.
4/Pebates. House of Commons. 3rd session, 10th Pari, 1906-7.
Ill, pp.5535-9; March 27, 1907.
5/Of New Zealand.
Canadians were also active in the
study groups of the Round Table, which sought to meet
new problems with new solutions, and pereceived the
beginning of a new concept of imperialism
within an Empire,
Thus, imperial federation had been
persistently rejected as a solution of the imperial
Still, there were no signs of the disintegra­
tion of the Empire.
The stormy election of 1911 was won
in Canada by the same loyalist forces as in 1891
2/ *
out benefit of an Imperial Federation League.
Nor did
the onslaught of a world war destroy the Empire. Without
imperial federation, there occurred what the federationists had sought to e n s u r e ----spontaneous unity in a time
of crisis and threat.
Sir Charles Tupper wrote to his
son,1’ I cannot help thinking that one of the most import­
ant results of this unjustifiable war forced upon the
world by the mad ambition of the German Emperor will be
the consolidation of the British Empire.*'
Thus the anxious imperialists, placing
prime importance on the preservation of imperial integrity,
had seen annexation or a perpetual status of inferiority
as the only alternatives to their proposals; but gradually
I/See famous editorial in the Toronto Globe. July 28. 1906.
2/See Tupper Papers. VI. No.l0l4a; Tupper to Borden, Febru­
ary 22, 1911. Colonel Denison hastened publication of his
Struggle for .imperial uni ty in 1909 in order to use it against
the Yankees". (Tupper Papers. VI. No.955; Denison to Sir
Charles, April 2, 1909).
5/ibid. VII. No.1102; August 24, 1914.
a third course had been revealed, a middle course of
free cooperation within the Empire.
Proponents of the
new plan advocated the preservation of a certain degree
of imperial unity, not by elaborate schemes of constitu­
tional reconstruction, but by the development of habits of
cooperation and consultation permitting, in the manner of
traditional British policy, custom rather than formal leg­
islation to achieve the adaptation of imperial relations
to the changing world.
And, in the light of this develop­
ment, the highest aims of the imperial federationist s can­
not be said to have failed.
Let Sir George Parkin speak
for them:
It has of late years become a com­
monplace among ill-informed writers and
speakers to refer to the work of the Im­
perial' Federation League as a movement
that failed to achieve its ends. This er­
ror springs from ignorance of the aims
which acactuated the founders of the League
and those like myself who carried on its
propaganda. It is assumed that our ultim­
ate object was to establish a central parl­
iament of the Empire in substitution for
and over-riding the various representa­
tive bodies already in existence. Nothing
could be further from the truth. We under­
stood much too well the political genius
of our race and the lines along which our
institutions have developed to commit our
advocacy to any cut-and-dried plan. 1/
1/Willi son.op.cit..pp.112-15s undated fragment among the
Parkin papers.
Copy. Lord Lansdowne to the Secretary of
State for the Colonies* 31st Oct; 1887.
Extremely Confidential* (in Macdonald
Papers * Commercial Union. 1886-7).
++ *,Th€7 tlme has 1 think come when I should call
your attention to a movement in favour of what is sooken
of as Commercial Union" with the United States which has
during the last few months made some progress in the Do­
minion. The movement is one of comparatively recent ori­
gin; during the election campaign of last winter neither
party associated itself with the project and even at the
present time it has not to any considerable extent been
discussed by prominent public men. It has however through­
out the last spring and summer been advocated with great
ability and persistency by several gentlemen not especial­
ly connected with either political party. Of these the
most conspicuous have been Professor G-oldwin Smith, who has
contributed to the Press a series of powerfully written
articles dealing with the different aspects of the ques­
tion, Mr. Erastus Wiman, a Canadian by birth and a partner
in the well-known firm of Dun, Wiman & Co. of New York,
and Mr. Butterworth of the American House of Representa­
tives, whose name is associated with a Bill prepared for
the purpose of bringing Commercial Union which has already
been before Congress, and which will be again introduced
during its next session. These gentlemen and their friends
have attended numerous meetings which have been held in
different parts of the Country and notably in the Province
of Ontario and have apparently been well received by large
and representative audiences. A number of well-known news­
papers, including both the leading journals of Toronto, have
declared themselves in favour of the new policy, and are al­
most daily advocating it in their columns.
I need scarcely explain that by Commercial Union
is meant the abolition of the Customs line between Canada and
the United States and the establishment of complete reciproc­
ity between the two countries in all products whether natural
or manufactured, together with the adoption of a common tar­
iff against all other nations Including Great Britain.
That such discrimination against the Mother Coun­
try would be the inevitable concomitant of commercial Union
is apparent for two reasons. Even if Canada could afford to
dispense with the six or seven million dollars of revenue
which she derives from the taxation of commodities received
from the United States, it is clear that she could not afford
to dispense with the remaining eleven or twelve millions of
d ^ UL ^ iCh.She ^ rives by taxing the commodities
rest 0f the world of which sum
about eight millions is levied upon British goods. It
n o n ^ n t ° r r ^conceivable that the United States should
consent to reciprocal free trade with the Dominion ex+e£ ^ P??
condition that the latter should adopt a
tariff identical with theirs as against all other nao
?-ncludinS Great Britain. An arrangement under which
British commodities might be admitted duty free or at a
low rate of duty into Canada and be re-exported thence
duty free to the United States, there to compete with naive products, would obviously not be accepted by any Am­
erican Government, however ready such a Government might be
to enter into a Continental Zollverein with a comparative­
ly small community adjoining its own and not likely to
prove a formidable competitor in American markets.
The reasons for which the leaders of both
political parties in Canada have up to the present time
been apparently reluctant to identify themselves with the
movement are not far to seek. The Conservative party de­
pends largely for support upon the manufacturers whose In­
dustries have been in many cases called into existence and
kept alive by the high protective tariff adopted in 1878
for the express purpose of artificially stimulating them.
The acceptance of Commercial Union by the Conservative Party
would therefore certainly alienate from it the manufacturing
interests, to many of which the abolition of the Customs
line would beyond question be fatal. The Conservatives have,
on the other hand, nothing to gain by prematurely declaring
themselves against a movement which is apparently regarded
with some favour by the farmers and which may rapidly here­
after find a wide measure of acceptance amongst them.
The prominent men of the Liberal Party have
on their side to a certain extent found themselves in a po­
sition of somewhat similar embarrassment. On the eve of the
last general election the then leader of the Opposition, the
Honourable Edward Blake, in order to diminish the apprehen­
sion with which his return to power was regarded by the manu­
facturers committed himself to a virtual engagement that if
he should be supported by a majority in the new Parliament
he would not attempt & sudden or violent Interference with
the fiscal policy of his predecessors. It Is moreover gener­
ally believed that the section of the Liberal Party which is
connected with the Province of Quebec would not be likely to
offer much encouragement to a measure which might have its
outcome in the establishment of more intimate political re­
lations between Canada and the United States. The people of
neicchbouiM nS
aWare that their annexation to the
faof^ent »« a
*mlS?t involve if not their own efthe aaFr^fet U ; stinct Political community at all events
the sacrifice of many of the privileges civil and religaSSUred
^ h e m under British connection. They would
direction Fnd
y t3® fverse to any change pointing in this
Fa, F-I
Fe publlc utterances of the Honourable Wilerebin O? +Fi FFS aipce M r - Blake's resignation of the leadtb» +F
k F
Liberal Party is re^.rded as his successor for
® although carefully guarded been such as
to justify this conclusion.
It is not however probable that the ques?£ ?*
tla? desire v&iich thusesists in many quarters
avoid its discussion will much longer remain outside the
area of ordinary political controversy. Within the last few
Cartwright who may be regarded as the Leader
he Liberals of Ontario and of the English speaking Opposition---a statesman whose great ability and powers in debate
entitle him to a very high position in the party to which he
has delivered an important speech in which after a
careful review of the arguments for and against Commercial Un­
ion he has declared himself in favour of it. This declaration
has stimulated the growing interest already evinced in the
subject by the public, and renders it extremely probable that
the question will be forced upon the attention of the constitu­
encies, and that Commercial Union may be adopted as a prominent
feature of the policy of the Opposition. Should the negotia­
tions about to be commenced at Washington be extended so as to
include the commercial relations of Canada and the United States
and should a proposal for general commercial reciprocity be
made by the representatives of the latter power, it will cer­
tainly be impossible for any public man in this country to
maintain an attitude of neutrality in regard to a matter of
such importance .
Under these circumstances it appears to
me that His Majesty’s Government cannot be too careful to con­
sider in good time the bearings of the question as well as the
attitude which they are themselves prepared to adopt in dealing
with it.
Upon this occasion I cannot do more than
pass very briefly in review one or two of the principal argu­
ments which may be advanced upon either side. I would ob­
serve in the first place that if the question be considered
in its strictly commercial aspect and with reference to the
probable effects of unrestricted reciprocity with the United
States upon the material-condition of this Country,
there appears to be no room for doubt that commercial
Union would be greatly to the advantage of the people
for the Dominion or at all events to that of a large
majority of it. The different sections of the country
are geographically so widely separated from each other
and so closely connected with the adjoining portions of
the United States that it is impossible to believe that
both do not lose largely by the hindrances which a Cust­
oms line with a high tariff including on each side an in­
finite number of commodities impose upon their commercial
transactions or that each would not gain by the removal
of those hindrances and by the unrestricted flow of trade
along its natural channels.
A glance at the position occupied in
reference to each other by the Maritime Provinces and the
New England States, by Manitoba and the adjoining States
of the Union, by the most populous districts of Ontario
and the States of New York and Pennsylvania, by British
Columbia and the western seaboard of the American Repub­
lic, is sufficient to show that reciprocal commerce be­
tween these would be more to their mutual convenience and
advantage than a system which has for its object to compel
the people of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick— the bulk of
whose products in spite of the high tariff find a market in
the United States--to purchase commodities in Montreal and
Quebec and which drives the settlers of Manitoba and the
North West to deal with the manufacturers of Ontario from
whom they are separated by more than a thousand miles of
railroad instead of with the American cities upon the other
side of the frontier line.
The extraordinary expansion of trade be­
tween Canada and the United States which took place while
the reciprocity treaty of 1854- was in operation is pointed
to us as justifying the assumption that under a system of
universal reciprocity a similar expansion might be anticip­
From the statistics which have been lately
republished in the press it appears that the trade of Nova
Scotia with the United States which in 1854- amounted to
$4-,500,000 amounted in 1866 to $7,300,000, that the trade of
New Brunswick with the United States which in 1854- amounted
to $4,050,000 amounted in 1866 to $5,300,000 and that the
trade of Prince Edward Island with the United States which
in 1854 amounted to $280,000 amounted in 1865 to $1,050,000
while the total trade of the old Provihce of Canada with the
United States, which in 1854 amounted to $24,200,000, amounted
in 1866 to $55,200,000.
, It must of course not be forgotten that
the trade of the Maritime Provinces with the United
States during the above period received an immense stimu­
lus from the exceptional demand for Canadian- commodities
^ + ^ af°Se durin6 the continuance of the American War
any argument founded upon statistics collected
at that time must be to a certairjfeactent misleading. It
must also be remembered that since 1866 the Railway Sys­
tem of the Eastern States has undergone a large expansion
with the effect of bringing them into much closer contact
with bther parts of the Union and diminishing the advan­
tage which the producer in the Maritime Provinces former­
ly derived from his geographical propinquity to the mar­
kets of New England.
Making however every allowance for the al­
teration which has thus taken place in the circumstances of
these two portions of the North American Continent, it can
I think hardly be questioned that each would be the gainer
by improved facilities for commerce with the other, and
that the people of the Maritime Provinces whose coal, lumb­
er, fish, etc., obtain, in spite of the tariff, a market in
the States would find it to their advantage to be permitted,
not only to export their commodities to their neighbours
without restriction, but also to take in exchange for them
the manufactured products which the high tariff now compels
them to buy in the markets of bid Canada.
There has for some time past prevailed in
this portion of the Dominion a feeling of restlessness and
discontent well calculated to predispose the inhabitants
in favour of the change. The failure of the shipbuilding
industry upon which the population of the coast largely de­
pended, the falling off of business with the West Indies,
and the general tendency of trade to leave such places as
Halifax and St. John for centres of distribution further to
the West, have seriously crippled these Provinces and have
led their people to regard with distrust the policy which
has compelled them to transfer their custom from American
markets, with which for many years they carried on a profit­
able and. extensive business, to Canadian markets distant from
themselves and situated in a country with which, although
technically belonging to their own community, they have
little real sympathy and for which they have little genuine
affection or respect.
It was the prevalence of such feelings
tfL;?eS? 5 !" ?d the V e o ^ l e of Nova Scotia at the last
t0 return a majority of members pledged
to annexation to the United States, and although the strenuou-s efforst to the Ministerialists prevented a similar resuit on the occasion of the elections for the Federal Parlia­
ment the condition of these Provinces is still such as would
lead them to regard in a critical, if not hostile, spirit
any settlement of existing disputes founded upon the surrend°* their exclusive rights to the inshore fisheries and on
the other hand to view with favour one under which, whatever
its political consequences, their prospects of material pros­
perity would he improved.
It would in like manner I conceive he clearly
to the advantage of the people of Ontario to he given free ac­
cess to the coal fields of Pennsylvania, and to that of the
people of British Columbia, in which Province is situated the
most important coal field on the Western Seaboard' to he able
to sell their coal without restriction in the Pacific States.
That the change would he beneficial to the ag­
ricultural portion of the Canadian community from one end of
the Dominion to the either may I think also he predicted with­
out hesitation. Throughout the whole length of a frontier
line of some three thousand miles the Canadian farmer is now
excluded from the markets of a rich a h d numerous community im­
mediately adjoining his own: he could scarcely fail to he a
gainer by admission to those makets both for the sale of his
own produce and for the purchase of commodities the compara­
tive cheapness of which is the sole justification for a tariff
framed with the express design of excluding them from the mar­
kets of Canada.
It is upon the other hand idle to deny that the
adoption of Commercial Union would deal a heavy and probably a
fatal blow to a large number of those manufacturing industries
which have sprung up during the last few years under the in­
fluence of the high protective tariff which has been in force
in this country since 1878. Many of these, although thus lib­
erally subsidized at the expense of the Canadian consumer have
great difficulty in maintaining their existence; where they
have prospered for a time their prosperity has induced compe­
tition followed by over production, glutted markets and a ruin­
ous reaction. That the free admissioii of United States manu­
factures would destroy the weaker of these enterprises root
and branch is not doubtful. There seems however to be no rea­
son why the more vigorous of them where the natural conditions
are favourable to their existence should not survive and pros-
they have hlther^n Wlthf rawal of the protection which
connection^ t ^ t ^ received. It Is pointed out In this
tence Ilthout L ,
+II?6 industries have come into existhoScv,
+ + ^ ltiOUS ald in ttas Western States alestabllshed mln ? I18 *
force of competition with the old
cued t L ? If“anufacturing centres of the East, and it is arne-ned in a •+
des lllte St .Paul and Minneapolis have prosIdiJn Mtielt® °f such competition there is no reason why Cannf n l U U U f + I
no Prosper to the same extent in spite
tional frontier competltlon on the other side of the interna,
Passing from the commercial to the politi­
cal aspect of the case it is objected that commercial Union
auld invoive a surrender by the Dominion of the power of
regulating its own fiscal policy. This anticipation appears
? ?8mW * founded* It is frequently argued that any Commer­
cial Treaty would be open to this objection and would involve
a temporary surrender by the parties of their liberty of controlling their own tariffs. The case under discussion would
however not be the same as that of two nations entering into
an ordinary commercial treaty affecting the Tariff upon a mod­
erately sized group of commodities. In the latter case both
nations no doubt part for a specific period with their liberty
of dealing with the Tariff in so far as it affects the commod­
ities specified in the Treaty. In the United States however
and in Canada the Tariffs include an immense number of articles,
that of the United States comprising over four thousand and that
of Canada between eight and nine hundred. Any common Tariff adopt­
ed by the two countries would no doubt be of the same character
and would be framed so as to afford complete and exclusive pro­
tection of all kinds. It is an essential feature of such a Tar­
iff, designed as it must be to regu&ate the course of commerce
according to the circumstances of the moment and the fluctua­
tions of the markets of the world, that It must be liable to
frequent readjustment according to the altering conditions of
international trade.
Were Canada, therefore, and the .United States
to enter into an agreement for Commercial Union, it is diffi­
cult to conceive that a periodical revision of any common Tar­
iff adopted by the two countries would not be necessary and
that these revisions would not be made in the Interests of the
more powerful partner in the association. Under such circum­
stances the centre of pplitical activity in regard to all com­
mercial questions affecting the North American Continent would
inevitably be at Washington: Congress would be the arbiter of
the commercial destinies of the Dominion and the Canadian Parl­
iament would find itself comparatively impotent to affect any
changes which it might desire in the interests of its own Coun­
That such a change would tend towards
trangement of Canada from the Mother Country and towar s an approximation political as well as commercial "be­
tween Canada and the American Republic is hardly doubtful.
I would do this not only by establishing more intimate re­
lations between Canada and the United States and by cont»he volume of the business transacted between her
and the United Kingdom but also by the undoubted offense
which would be given to the people of the latter. It is not
difficult to imagine the Indignation with which these would
view the attempt to deal in such a manner with the Mother
Country and her Interests, or the objections which would be
raised to any proposal under which G-reat Britain while re­
taining her liability for the defence of the Colony, would
be subjected to the indignity of a Tariff hostile to herself
and friendly to her rivals.
To those who believe that the obvious dest­
iny of the Dominion is to be united to the Republic which ad­
joins her the above results would appear to be natural and un­
objectionable • Others who profess
and in many cases with ab­
solute sincerity
their desire to remain in connection with
the British Empire dwell upon the fact that Canada has already
been given an almost unlimited control over her own finance,
that she has already been permitted to use this liberty for
the purpose of adopting a Tariff highly injurious to British
interests, and that the preference which would in the case
supposed be extended to the commodities of a foreign nation
is not in fact or in principle more objectionable than for
instance such a measure as the increase of the Iron Duties
introduced in the last Session of the Canadian Parliament.
This argument is one to which it is not easy to reply. It has
never been stipulated by Great Britain that the Canadian Tar­
iff was to be framed with any reference to her convenience;
as a matter of fact it has been framed solely with reference
to the supposed advantage of Canada herself. The sacrifice of
British commercial interests to the exigencies of Canadian re­
quirements has been permitted repeatedly without criticisms
or protest on the part of the British Government, injury to
British commerce having been again and again submitted to with­
out complaint, it will be for Her Majesty's Government to con­
sider whether it can formulate a Colonial policy founded upon
the principle that Great Britain is to tolerate any caprice of
her Colonies in regard to the taxation of her exports, however
injurious to herself such taxation may be, provided only that
the injury is shared by others. Whe ther such a position can be
defended or is worth defending appears to be at least open to
question. That in which the Mother Country is really concerned
is the extent of the injury sustained by her trade, not the
treatment simultaneously accorded by the Colony to other Gompetitors for its custom. It is easy for Instance to conceive
that in certain circumstances a Colonial duty discriminating
against Great Britain but affecting a commodity of which she
exported only a very small quantity might be far less detri­
mental to her than a non-discriminating duty levied upon all
of the same kind but affecting a commodity
^aS a larSe exporter to the Colony by which
the duty was imposed.
-I*, ^
stand at present Canada can­
not like Great Britain afford free trade with the whole
world. If she is to have free trade at all she will gain
most by free trade with her immediate neighbours, the com­
munity with which she already does more business than with
any other. Should Great Britain, herself so deeply committed
to a free trade policy, deny to Canada the advantages of free
trade with the United States, the refusal could be defended
only upfen what would be regarded as purely selfish grounds.
A large section of the Canadian community
would no doubt be averse to the change both for sentimental
and patriotic reasons and from dread of its ultimate results;
it is however in my opinion by no means certain that these
ill feelings will prevail in tte end, or that should the con­
stituencies become convinced that Commercial Union is within
their reach and discrimination would enrich their country and
relieve them from disagreeable complications with their xieighbours they will have the courage to oppose it.
Mr. Butterworth1s Bill will as I have al­
ready observed be again submitted to Congress. I have no
means o'f knowing the reception with which it will meet; it is
however believed by many good judges that a return to partial
reciprocity such as that which obtained under the Treaty of
1854- and for a return to which provision has already been
made in the existing Customs law of the Dominion is not likely
to find favour with Congress. The articles enumerated both in
the Treaty and in the Customs Act (4-2 Vic. c.15* Art.6) are
as you are aware of the kind usually spoken of as natural prod­
ucts and belong to a class which this country does not import
from Great Britain,and, although as far as Canada is concerned
a return to some such form of reciprocity might prove accept­
able, an impression prevails in many quarters that the people
of the United States would regard the bargain as too favour­
able to the Dominion and would not be likely to approve it.
The records of the abortive negotiations whjch took place at
Washington in 1874- between Mr. George Brown and Mr. Fish for
a Commercial Treaty In which it was proposed to include a large
number of manufactured articles are worth referring to in this
It is conceivable under these circumstances
that a wider measure of international free trade may be pro­
posed as a solution of the difficulties which have arisen in
regard to the Canadian Fisheries. How such an offer would be
regarded by the people of this Country it is Impossible at this
moment to foretell. This at any rate may be said that if such
an offer were made it would be for the Interests of the party
tioniun«nWtv! t? throw the responsibility for its rejecthat
« ?i^v?*rial Gover m e n t rather than to assume
re^ected and ?t h
itself* «
an offer were to be so
mercialUnison tc
f°r the advocates of Comm t
appear that that offer had been
merelv W a n « f ® i + y
representatives of Great Eritain
n u V af regarded as detrimental to the inter1t
. . e nited Kingdom, the feeling which already exeeoaii^ favour of the change would receive an immense accession of strength,
1 have in this despatch made no reference
to the effects ^which Commercial Union would have upon the
obligations of Great Britain, It may be confidently
predicted that the Government of the United States would
not be likely to enter into any agreement for complete rewith the Dominion except upon the condition that
he Common Tariff adopted by the two countries was to be
enforced against all other countries except those which might
themselves become members of the North American Zollverein
which would be thus created. It is obvious that this state of
things would involve the imposition of differential duties
not only against Great Britain but also against Foreign Coun­
tries entitled un&dr commercial Treaties with Great Britain
to most favoured nation treatment in all British possessions.
This important aspect of the question has
been fully discussed upon former occasions and more espec­
ially in 1884 when a proposal for a commercial treaty between
the British West Indies and United States was under the con­
sideration of H£r Majesty’s Government, in the course of the
negotiations which then took place, it was plainly stated by
Mr. Frelinghrysen [sic) in his letter of the 16th July 1884
to Mr. West that it was the desire of the United States by
means of such treaties "to assimilate trade between them (the
British West Indies and the United States) to the conditions
which apply to production and shipping in the domestic coast­
ing trade or the trade of a country and its dependencies.
It appears to be by no means improbable that
a similar policy may once more be advocated by the Government
of the United States in regard to Its future commercial rela­
tions with the Dominion.
I have,etc.,
This Commit.tee adopts the following Resolutions passed
by the Conference which founded the Imperial Federation
League in 1884• -That in order to secure the permanent unity of
the Empire some form of Federation is es­
That no scheme of Federation should interfere with
the existing rights of Local Parliaments as
regards local affairs.
That any scheme of Imperial Federation should com­
bine on an equitable basis the resources of
the Empire for the maintenance of common in­
terests, and adequately provide for an organ­
ised defence of common rights.
It also adopts the expansion of the principles of those
Resolutions by the Special Committee of 1892, as expres­
sed in the summary taken from the Report adopted by the
Council of the Imperial Federation League in the same
In particular, the Committee recognises as the lesson
to bedrawn from the
experience of the nine years1 working
of the late League 1.That an adequate system of Maritime Defence is
the primary necessity common to all parts
of the Empire.
2.That such a system of defence does not exist under
present conditions.
3*That if the self-governing Colonies take their
share in the cost of such a system of defence, they
must have a proportionate share in its administra­
tion and control; and if those Colonies are not will­
ing to take their share in a common system of de­
fence, it is evident that Federation is not practi­
cable, whatever arrangements may be proposed or
adopted as regards interchange of commerce, means
of intercommunication, monetary standards,etc.
A.That given a common system of Maritime De­
fence, provided, and controlled by a
body in which all parts of the Empire
are represented the Federation of the
Empire is attained, so far as essent­
ials are concerned,
5 .That combination for the defence of common
interests is therefore
as was recog­
nised in 1884
the one essential point,
and the test of the practicability of
Imperial Federation,
6.That proposals involving participation by t£tem
in the cost of general maritime security,
which has hitherto been enjoyed without
expense, cannot be expected to come, in
the first instance, from Colonial Govern­
ments .
It will therefore be the first aim of the Com­
mittee to call the attention of the people of the Unit­
ed Kingdom to the anomalous and precarious state of af­
fairs now existing, and to induce Her Majesty's Govern­
ment to make to those Colonial Governments, in an offic­
ial manner, such statements as to the present means by
which defence is provided, and such proposals regarding
the future, as will elicit from them an expression as to
their willingness to take part in such a combination.
In order to narrow the issue as much as possible,
and thereby to concentrate effort upon this essential
point, it is specifically declared that the objects of
the Committee do not include any proposal involving an
alteration of the fiscal policy either of the United
Kingdom or of any of the Colonies.
+6 uS??CiatJ°n to be called "The British Empire League."
1, '
snail be the primary object of the League to secure
the permanent unity of the Empire.
(3)The following to be among the other principal objects of
the League:
(a)To promote trade between the United Kingdom, the
Colonies, and India, and to advocate the holding
of periodical meetings of representatives from all
parts of the Empire for the discussion of matters
of general commercial interest, and the considera­
tion of the best means of expanding the national
trade .
(b)To consider how far it may, be possible to modify
any laws or treaties which impede freedom of action
in the making of reciprocal trade arrangements be­
tween the United Kingdom and the Colonies, or be­
tween any two or more British Colonies or Possessions.
(c)To promote closer intercourse between the different
portions of the Empire by the establishment of cheap­
er, and, where required, more direct steam, postal
and telegraphic communication, preference being given
to routes not traversing Foreign Territory,
(d)To develop the principles of which all parts of the
Empire may best share in its general defence; en­
deavouring to bring into harmony public opinion at
Home and in the Colonies on this subject, and to de­
vise a more perfect cooperation of the Military and
Naval Forces of the Empire with a special view to
the due protection of the trade routes.
(e)To assimilate, as far as local circumstances permit,
the laws relating to copyright, patents, legitimacy,
and bankruptcy throughout the Empire.
(4)The League shall use every constitutional means to bring
about the objects for which it is established, and shall in­
vite the support of men of all shades of political opinion
throughout the Empire.
(5)The League shall advocate the establishment of periodical
Conferences to deal with such questions as may appear ripe
for consideration, on the lines of the London Conference of
1887^ and the Ottawa Conference of 1894.
(Compiled from Department of Trade and Commerce, Dominion
Bureau of Statistics, Trade of Canada, fiseal year ended
March 31, 1933 1934- ; Historical Summary Tables No*2 & 3) *
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A.Prime Ministers of Canada.
John A. Macdonald
John J.C. Abbott
John S.D. Thompson
Mackenzie Bowell
Charles Tupper,3art.
Wilfrid Laurier
October 17,1878
June 6,1891
June 15, 1891
November 24,1892
November 25,1892
December 12,1894
December 13,1894- — April 27,1896
April 27,1896
July 8,1896
July 9, 1896
October 6,1911
B.Prime Ministers of Great Britain.
Mr.William E. Gladstone
The Marquess of Salisbury
Mr.William E. Gladstone
The Marquess of Salisbury
Mr.William E. Gladstone
The Earl of Rosebery
The Marquess of Salisbury
Sir Arthur Balfour
Sir Henry CampbellBannerman
Mr.H.H. Asquith
1880. .1885
1885- .1886
1886. ■1892
1894. ■1895
1895- 1902
C.Secretaries of State for the Colonies.
The Earl of Kimberley,K.G. Appointed
The Earl of Derby,K.G.
Colonel Sir F.A.Stanley
(later Lord Stanley of
Preston, and Earl of
Earl Granville
Edward Stanhope
Sir Henry T. Holland,Bart.
(later Baron Knutsford,
and Viscount Knutsford)
The Marquess of Ripon,K.G.
Joseph Chamberlain
Alfred Lyttleton
The Earl of Elgin and Kincar­
dine, K.G.
The Earl of Crewe (later the
Marquess of Crewe), K.G.
Lewis Harcourt
April 28, 1880
December 16,1882
June 24,1885
Fe bruary 6,1886
August 3, 1886
January 14,1887
August 17,1892
June 28, 1895
October 9,1903
De cember 11,1905
April 16, 1908
November 7, 1910
D.Governors-G-eneral of Canada.
The Marquess of Lorne
The Marquess of Lansdowne
Lord Stanley of Preston,
later the Earl of Derhy
The Earl of Aberdeen
The Earl of Mlnto
Earl Grey
The Duke of Connaught
Register of Despatches from Secretary of State for the
Used, for 1880-96 as index to MS collection.
Register of Despatches to Secretary of State for the
Used for 1880-96.
Governor-General1s Letter Book.
Used for 1881-1901; contains copies of some draft
Governor in Chief’s Register of Letters and Despatches
Used for 1882-1902.
Boose, James R. Titles of publications relating to the
British colonies. their government.etc., in con­
nection with imperial policy. London, 1889.
Review of historical publications relating to Canada(Uni­
versity of Toronto Studies in HistoryT. 20v. Tor­
onto, 1897-1919.
Continued quarterly in the Canadian Historical Re­
view since 1920.
Rose, J.Holland et al (eds.). Cambridge history of the
British Empire. VI-Canada. Cambridge, 1930.
Bibliography by Reginald G. Trotter.
Lewin, Evans. Subject catalogue of the Ro.ya1 Empire Society, formerly the Royal Colonial Institute. 3v.
London, 1930-2.
Casey, Magdalen. Catalogue of pamphlets in the Public Ar­
chives of Canada. 2v. Ottawa, 1932.
1-1493-1677; 11-1878-1931.
Trotter,Reginald G. Canadian history: a syllabus and guide
to reading. Toronto,1926. new ed. Toronto,193^•
(Public Archives of Canada)
Canada - Public; G series.
Letters Received High Commissioner, 1880-88,
Well-organized collection,
Canada — Public; G- series.
Despatches from Secretary of State for the Colonies
Governor-General} .
[to the
Canada - Public; G series.
Drafts of Despatches from Governor-General to Secretary of
State for the Colonies.
Documents used for 1884-96.
Canada - Public; G series.
Letters Received [at Governor-General *s Office!
Documents used for 1884-1905.
Canada - Public; G series.
Drafts from Governor-General to H. M. Ambassador at Wash­
ington (1885-94).
Canada - Public; G series.
Despatches from H.M. Ambassador at Washington (1886-94).
(Public Archives of Canada)
Canada; Miscellaneous.
Mackenzie Bowell Collection.
Folio 4 used.
124 Folios.
Canada; Miscellanous*
Edward Farrer Collection. 9 Folios.
Folios 1-3, 5-6 used.
Canada; Miscellaneous.
Sir Sandford Fleming Collection. 193 Folios.
Folios 21-24 used.
Canada; Miscellanous.
D fAlton McCarthy Collection.
1 Folio.
Canada; Miscellaneous.
Sir John A. Macdonald Collection.
548 bound F^olios.
Part 2.
Part 3.
Commercial Union.
Part 3.
Sessional Memoranda.
Sessional Papers.
Part 2.
Canada; Miscellaneous.
Sir John Thompson Collection. 5 Folios.
Canada; Miscellaneous.
Sir Charles Tupper Collection.
Folios 2-7 used.
11 Folios.
(Queen1s University, Kingston, Ontario)
Charles Mair Papers.
l860fs to 1930.
Debates o£ the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada.
Used for 1884-1906’.
Debates of the Senate of the Dominion of Canada.
Used for 1884-1906.
Proceedings of the Colonial Conference.
Sessional Papers. XXVII. Vo1.5, fourth session of the
seventh Parliament of the Dominion of Canada.
Session 1894.
Sessional Papers. XXXV. Vol.4, first session of ninth Parl­
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Garvin, J.L. Life of Joseph Chamber la in. 3v.-f- London, 1932-f- .
Reviewed with relation to the imperial problem by
Edgar Mclnnes in Canadian Historical Review, XVI
(1935), 65-70.
Tyler, J.E. Struggle for Imperial unity, (1868-i§25.) •
Empire Society Imperial Studies No.16). London,
93 •
Schuyler, Robert L. "Climax of anti-imperialism in England*1’
Political Science Quarterly* XXXVI (1921), 537-60*
Knaplund,Paul* "Intra-imperial aspects of Britain’s de­
fence question, 1870-1900." Canadian Historical
Review* III (1922), 120-42.
Cooke, Albert C. "Empire unity and colonial nationalism,
1884-1911." Canadian Historical Association Report
for 1939 (1939), 77-86.
Underhill, Frank H. "Edward Blake, the Liberal party and
unrestricted reciprocity." ibid., 133-41.
Dorothy Alice Guthrie
Born December 18, 1914; Indianapolis, Indiana.
Graduated from Nicholas Senn High Scool, Chicago, Illinois,
June, 1931.
Entered Northwestern University, September, 1931.
Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, March, 1935.
Graduated, Bachelor of Science, Honors Degree, with highest
distinction, June, 1935.
University Fellow in History for the academic year, 1936-37.
Master of Arts, 1937.
Summer School of Historical Research of Queen*s University,
at Ottawa, Canada, July-August, 1937.
Further private research, Public Archives, Ottawa, Canada,
summer of 1938.
Teaching Assistantship in Department of History, Northwest­
ern University, 1938-39.
University Travelling Fellow, 1939-40.
Graduate student, Queen’s Uniwsity, Kingston, Ontario,
spring term, 1940.
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