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DRS, D. D.










P.C., K.C.M.C,.

The Life and Letters of the
Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Tupper,

Bart., K.G.M.G.

Edited by

With an Introduction by

Eight Photogravure Plates



London, New York, Toronto, and Melbourne





By the Rt. Hon. Sir R. L. BORDEN, K.G.M.G.

Canadians the life of Sir Charles Tupper needs no
introduction. His career as a public man is indissolubly

K associated with the history of Canada since Confederation.
He entered public life at the age of thirty-four in his

- 3 native province of Nova Scotia, and during the twelve
years which ensued before Confederation, his public record
gave abundant evidence of the magnificent courage, the fine
optimism and the breadth of vision which invariably char-

^ acterised him in the wider arena in which he was destined

to play so distinguished a part. When he entered the Legis-
lature of Nova Scotia in 1855 his party was in opposition.
Under the inspiration of his virtual though not nominal
leadership, it came into power two years later ; and, although
defeated in 1859, he became Premier in 1863 with a large

o majority behind him.

Religious controversy was not unknown in Nova Scotia

,H in those days, although happily no province in Canada is

3 more entirely free from such dissensions at present. To
this happy result the influence of Sir Charles Tupper con-
tributed in no small measure.

In the field of constructive statesmanship Sir Charles
Tupper directed his energies to two great questions.
Clearly realising that railways were the modern high-
ways of commerce, he advocated an advanced policy of

grail way construction. In this respect he foreshadowed the

~~ memorable part he was destined to take in the construction
of a national highway that should bind together the scat-



tered provinces and territories of the Greater Canada that
was to be. He realised also the necessity of better oppor-
tunity for education among the people. The facilities for
higher education in Nova Scotia were excellent, but there
was no system of public schools. There was, of course, an
ignorant impatience of the taxation which his proposals in-
volved, but the courage which never failed him carried
through the measure, against which in a few years no voice
of protest was heard.

Men had been dreaming for years of a nation on the
northern half of this Continent which would embrace
all the British Possessions. The proposal appealed to
Tupper's imagination, and, as a preliminary step, he
moved and carried in the Legislature of Nova Scotia in
1864 a resolution favouring the union of the three Mari-
time Provinces, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince
Edward Island, as a prelude to a still greater union.
This action acted as a spur to the activities of the Upper
Province statesmen. The Maritime Province meeting was
to be held at Charlottetown on September 1, 1864. The
Upper Province representatives asked to be admitted to
the Conference. They were cordially welcomed; and after
frank discussion of the subject, the Conference was ad-
journed to October 10 at Quebec, where the basis was laid
for the subsequent Confederation.

In that Conference Tupper played a great part, and con-
sidering the difficulties which arose in New Brunswick and
Prince Edward Island, as well as the tremendous opposi-
tion which developed in Nova Scotia under the eloquent
leadership of Howe, it is not too much to say that if he
had been a man of less invincible courage and determina-
tion, the project of Confederation might have been post-
poned for many years.

For the sake of allaying political difficulties which Sir
John A. Macdonald had encountered in forming the first
Government of the new Dominion, Tupper insisted that



his own just claims should not be considered, and he
served for three years as a Member of Parliament without
office. But from 1870 until he became High Commissioner
in 1884 he held many important portfolios, notably those of
Finance and Public Works and Railways.

His record as a statesman will always be closely asso-
ciated with two great policies. The advocacy of the National
Policy by Macdonald from 1876 to 1878 was largely due to
Tupper's influence and inspiration. When the Liberal-
Conservative Cabinet was being formed after the elections
of 1878, it was anticipated that Tupper would assume the
portfolio of Finance and bring down to Parliament the
measure in which the National Policy was to be embodied.
He chose, however, the Department of Public Works, to
which the Ministry of Railways and Canals was attached,
and in 1882 he initiated the proposals for building the
Canadian Pacific Railway. Many men of remarkable
ability and vision contributed to the achievement of that
great enterprise. To none is due a greater meed of praise
than to Tupper. For many years his prophecies of enor-
mous development and production in the western terri-
tories of Canada were derided, and he was subjected to
attack of a bitterness unequalled even in those days of
fierce controversy. Happily for him, and fortunately for
his country, he lived to see every prophecy more than
doubly fulfilled.

After his retirement from public life in 1900, he followed
with absorbing interest the advancement and development
of Canada, and he watched with the keenest attention and
comprehension every turn and phase of public affairs. Suc-
ceeding him in the leadership of the Liberal-Conservative
Party, I had the good fortune to receive from him occasional
counsel and suggestion which was always wise and timely.
I saw him for the last time in August, 1915. He had lived
to see the Empire united in a great struggle for its own pre-
servation and for the liberties of the world. In that struggle



he had seen Canada play the notable part which he would
have willed, marching with proud and firm footsteps to the
majestic fulfilment of a great destiny. Physically he was
exceedingly weak, but I had never known his mind more keen
and active. Every phase of the war, every detail of Canada's
part therein, he had watched with passionate interest, and
he spoke of the consolidation of our Empire as an accom-
plished fact.

Later I stood by the grave in which he was laid to rest,
in a quiet churchyard near the city where his public career
had begun sixty years before. As I write these lines I look
out upon the Hill where a new Parliament House is rising
from the ruins of that historic pile in which the splendid
activities of his wider career made him for many years a
conspicuous and distinguished figure. Upon that Hill there
will yet be raised a stately monument to commemorate his
public achievements; but no monument can be more stately
or more enduring than that which will be found in the
hearts of all Canadians who have just appreciation of the
genius, the courage, the faith and the patriotism of Sir
Charles Tupper.




1. EARLY LIFE (182143) . . . . 1


3. POLITICS IN NOVA SCOTIA (1856 57) ... 47



SCOTIA (186063) .79



7. ORIGIN OF ANTI- CONFEDERATION (1864 66) . * 110


9. BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT (1866 67) . . 138





14. DEFEAT OF THE CONSERVATIVES (1872 74) . . 217


(187477) . ... . . 236

16. CONSERVATIVES AGAIN IN POWER (1878 79) . . 255


(187980) . , . . . .273


(1881) , . ... . . .300



K.C.M.G. ....... Frontispiece







EARLY LIFE (182143)

THE Right Honourable Sir Charles Tupper, Baronet,
was a descendant of Thomas Tupper, who emigrated
from Sandwich, England, to America in 1635, and
became one of the founders of Sandwich on Cape Cod
(now called Lynn), April 3, 1637. From Thomas we come
to Eliakim Tupper, born June 20, 1711, who married Mary
Bassett on March 28, 1734. Their youngest child, born
August 19, 1748, was Charles Tupper, father of the Eev.
Charles Tupper, D.D. The family came from Connecticut
to Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, in 1763. Eliakim Tupper was
one of a number who took possession of lands vacated by
the Acadians who were deported in 1755. These lands were
granted to immigrants by the Government of Nova Scotia.
The mother of the Rev. Charles Tupper, D.D., was
Elizabeth West, born at Martha's Vineyard, February 9,
1754. Her parents, William and Jane West, came to Corn-
wallis, N.S., in 1763. Elizabeth West and Charles Tupper
were married October 24, 1771. They had ten sons and
four daughters. The Rev. Charles Tupper, D.D., was the
twelfth child. He was born in the township of Cornwallis,
August 6, 1794. He entered the Baptist ministry, and on
December 3, 1818, was married to Miriam Lowe, widow of
Mr. John Lowe, and daughter of Mr. James Lockhart.

The Life of Sir Charles Tupper

She was born in Parrsborough, N.S., January 16, 1780,
and died July 4, 1851.

The Kev. Dr. Tupper removed from Biver Phillip, Cum-
berland County, where he had been settled as pastor of
the Baptist Church, to Amherst, March 31, 1821. He
had three sons. One died in early childhood, and the
others were Charles and Nathan. The former was born
at Amherst, July 2, 1821. The Eev. Dr. Tupper was
pastor of the Baptist Church for a short time in the city
of St. John, New Brunswick. On account of ill-health,
he returned to Amherst on October 1, 1826.

The Kev. Dr. Cramp, President of Acadia University,
on the death of Dr. Tupper, said :

" He was especially gifted for his work by his know-
ledge of languages. His diary for December 22, 1859,
contains the following entry : ' Finished the perusal of
Luther's German version of the Bible. I have now perused
the whole of the sacred volume in eight languages; these
are Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Ger-
man and English, besides the New Testament in Spanish
and Portuguese.' His expository notes on the Syriac ver-
sion were published many years ago, and were highly

Of his father, Sir Charles Tupper wrote in his journal :

" My father received the degree of D.D. from Acadia
College, N.S., and no man took a more active part than
he in the promotion of temperance in Nova Scotia, New
Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. After a life of
devotion to his ministerial and educational duties in those
Provinces, he died on the 19th of January, 1881."

Of his early life, Sir Charles recorded :

" I have no recollection of being taught to read, but
distinctly remember sitting on a table and teaching the
alphabet to my brother Nathan, two years younger than
myself. I do not remember when I commenced the study
of Latin, but when I was seven years old I had read the

Early Life

whole Bible aloud to my father. When my father returned
home from his missionary work in the adjoining provinces,
he used to give me a halfpenny for every page I had learned
to translate in the Latin reader during his absence. When
I was but ten years old I learned in one day twenty-four
rules in Ruddiman's ' Rudiments of the Latin Language,' and
recited them with all the examples without any cessation
to Jonathan McOully, to whom I was then going to school.
Samuel White was studying with me when I was kept from
school by illness for a week. When I returned I found
he had got through the rules, and to overtake him I,
that night and the next morning, committed the whole to
memory, and recited them without sitting down. Mr.
McCully, who opposed me strongly at my first election,
and for several years after, subsequently joined me in sup-
porting Confederation, and I had the pleasure of nominat-
ing him first as a senator, and afterwards as a judge of
the Supreme Court for Nova Scotia.

" In May, 1833, my father removed to Bedeque, Prince
Edward Island, and became pastor of the Baptist Church
there and at Try on for a year. We lived during the summer
in the Bedeque House, near a wide stream called Wilmot

" I found under the bank, not far from our house, a
portion of a large log which had been so burned as to leave
it hollowed out like a boat, and with my little brother,
Nathan, pretended to fit it out for a voyage with a mast
and a small sail. I was the captain and sat at the stern
with a paddle to propel the ship, while my brother, with
a small pole, ten feet long, was to direct the course from
the bow. In this way we proceeded, sheltered by the
bank from the observation of those at the house. When
endeavouring to turn so as to go back to the starting-point,
the wind caught the sail and was rapidly carrying us across
the river. As Nathan, being only ten years old, could not
turn the head of our ship around, I went to his aid, when


The Life of Sir Charles Tupper

the hollow log promptly turned over. As I went down I
grasped my arms over the bottom of the log, and Nathan
succeeded in sticking his fingers in the rotten bark; but
he presently said : ' I can't hold on any longer,' when I
made a supreme effort and got astride the log and drew
my brother upon it. Providentially, the pole was within
reach, having stuck in the mud when Nathan was thrown
into the water. I seized it and, pushing first on one side
and then on the other, we got safely to the shore. We then
took off our clothes and dried them in the sun and wind
until we could venture home without alarming our mother.

" In May, 1834, we removed back to Amherst, where
my father had a small farm of twelve acres, and a house
built the year I was born. I was then sent to the Gram-
mar School, taught by Mr. McQueen, at Amherst Corner.

" Having a strong desire to become a physician, at the
age of fifteen and a half years I commenced the study of
medicine with Dr. Benjamin Page at Amherst. I had,
from the time I left the Grammar School, continued the
study of Latin, and, anxious that my education should
be continued, he made arrangements to send me to the
Baptist Academy at Horton, where the Eev. John Pryor
was principal. I commenced my studies there on August
12, 1837, or forty-one days after I had entered my six-
teenth year. As Dr. Pryor told me there was no class
commencing Greek or French, I began the study of those
languages under Mr. Charles Randall, upon whose report I
soon joined the class reading the Greek New Testament, and
in six months I was transferred to the class reading Homer,
which had been studying Greek for three years. I was soon
able to read French, and was fond of Latin and Greek, but
had no taste for arithmetic. Being puzzled over a sum in
compound fractions, I asked Dr. Pryor's assistance. After
he had worked at it for some time, he rubbed all his figures
out and told me to go to my seat and work it out. I saw
that he could not do it, and threw the book into my desk


Early Life

and did not look into it again while at the academy, con-
cluding that it was unnecessary for me to know more of
simple arithmetic than the principal. I had a narrow
escape from drowning while at Horton, but was saved by
Pat Hockney, a fellow student, who taught me to swim.
In the summer of 1838 I went to Amherst during the

For one year, beginning July, 1834, the Kev. Dr. Tupper
was principal of the Grammar School at Amherst, during
which time he discharged the duties of a minister of the
Gospel to the church in that place. On July 14, 1838,
he was called to the principalship of the Academy at
Fredericton, New Brunswick, for one year, to take the
place of the principal who was absent on a visit to England.
At the end of the year he returned to Amherst.

Sir Charles's journal continues :

" I also went to Prince Edward Island from Tignish
in an open sailboat with Mr. Thompson Brondige. We
left the island to return on a fine afternoon, sailing from
Bedeque with a fair wind. When about half-way across
the wind veered round ahead, and we were obliged to beat.
The night became dark, and we found, near midnight, our
boat bumping on the shoals off Cape Tormentine, more
than a mile from the shore. I was requested to row, and
we succeeded in getting the boat around, and ran out
again into the gulf. My fears were not allayed by seeing
through the darkness Mr. Brondige taking off his boots.
We succeeded in doubling the Cape, and at three o'clock
in the morning were safe at Tignish.

" I resumed my studies at Horton. During my stay at
Horton Academy I spent my Christmas holidays, and often
from Saturday to Monday, at my Uncle Nathan Tupper's,
at Lakeville, Cornwallis, to whose unvarying kindness and
assistance I was largely indebted in obtaining my profes-
sion. He was mainly instrumental in sending me to


The Life of Sir Charles Tupper

" In 1838, while riding from New Brunswick over to
Amherst, I met on my way the Kev. Mr. Busby, a Wesleyan
minister, who handed me a letter from his brother-in-law,
Dr. Harding, of Windsor, N.S., offering to take me as a
medical student, which offer I accepted.

" I spent a happy year residing with Dr. Harding,
where I received medical instruction. While there, Mr.
Valentine, a portrait painter in oils, came to Windsor to
paint the portrait of Judge Haliburton (Sam Slick). He
also painted Dr. and Mrs. Harding, and then a small por-
trait of me. [Plate facing p. 16.]

" I was present when Drs. Harding and Pyke ampu-
tated the leg of Noel, an Indian at Newport, above the
knee, and I was allowed to take the leg. Shortly after-
wards, several Indians came and demanded it, saying
that if it was not buried in consecrated ground, at the
resurrection Noel would still be a cripple with only one
leg. I promised them that that should be done, and after
my dissection was finished I put the remains in a small
box, which I took under my cloak on a dark night and
buried them in the Roman Catholic graveyard. I also
attended a Micmac squaw in her confinement in an
Indian camp near Windsor. Having carefully followed
Dr. Harding's directions, all went well.

" I visited my parents at Amherst, said good-bye to
them and the other members of the family, and then sailed
from Windsor (for Scotland) in the brigantine Hunting-
ton, 156 tons, built by Mr. Goudge at Windsor. We had
to call at St. John, where I dined at Dr. Bayard's (son
of Colonel Samuel Vetch Bayard, an intimate friend of
the Duke of Kent), the leading physician of that place.
We then went on board, and the sailors and mate just
shipped the former of whom were drunk were brought
on board. I was the only cabin passenger; there was one
steerage passenger, and the captain, mate, and three sea-
men completed the crew.


Early Life

" The mate, Mr. Brown, notwithstanding my request,
persisted in smoking in the cabin, and as I was very sea-
sick I spoke to the captain, who told him he must not do
so. From that time, when I was on deck, the mate was
generally to the windward, smoking in my face. Our vessel
was loaded with deals, with a deckload even with the
top of the rails, except a small space just below the wheel.
When we were crossing with a ten -knot breeze the Grand
Banks of Newfoundland one Sunday morning, I was sit-
ting on the planks in this space by the wheel reading the
Bible, when the mate sat down to the windward, smoking.
I said : ' Mr. Brown, I expected in the mate of this vessel
to find a gentleman, and requested you not to smoke in
my face. I tell you now, I will not permit it.' He
screwed up his nose in contempt, and said : ' Won't you? '
In an instant I smashed the bowl of his pipe against his
jaws into a dozen pieces with a blow of my fist. He
sprang on me like a tiger and clinched me. He was a
much heavier man than I, but I brought into requisi-
tion the hip-lock taught me by Pat Hockney at Horton
Academy, and brought him down on his head and shoulders
under me; but as we were at the edge of the top rail of
the deck, and the slightest movement would send us both
overboard, I rolled over, which brought Brown on top.
With my left arm around his neck, I pinned his face to
the deck, and with my right fist paid attention to his
ribs. Anderson, a strong Swede, who was steering, left
the wheel and, seizing the collars of our coats, dragged
us, as we were, on to the centre of the deck. The sail
filled aback, and the vessel was running backwards when
the captain rushed on deck. The mate went to his bunk,
which he only left on the third day after. The captain
said I had done quite right, and Mr. Brown gave me a
wide berth from that time.

" We lay to for three days in a gale of wind. It was
magnificent. We would ascend until we were like a bird


The Life of Sir Charles Tupper

on the sharp top of a mountain peak, and then descend
until we were like a fly in the bottom of a teacup. On the
fortieth day from St. John we reached Lough Foyle, now
known as Moville. The pilot-boat brought counter-orders
for the brigantine to go to Lough Swilly, and I, who had
been seasick for the whole forty days, left in the pilot-
boat, which landed me at a round tower in the sand, then
called McGillon Castle, where I awaited for four hours
the steamer from Londonderry to Glasgow. I innocently
asked the pilots, when rowing me ashore, whether the
people in that part of the country were mostly Protestants
or Catholics. A fierce-looking man replied : ' Thank God,
there are ten Catholics to one Protestant, or you would
see nothing but broken skulls and tufts of hair flying
about ! ' I did not pursue the conversation.

" While I was waiting at McGillon Castle, a good-
looking lady was drawn up to the door in a nice Irish
jaunting-car, and served with a glass of Irish whisky,
which, to my astonishment, she drank off neat without
making a wry face. Several other persons were served
with whisky, when suddenly there was a great commo-
tion, evidently the result of some wireless telegraphy
which had escaped my notice, and directly two revenue
officers appeared and searched the premises without being
able to discover a drop. I went on board the steamer
from Londonderry, and landed in Glasgow the next day
in time to catch the three-horse coach, which carried me
to a hotel in Princes Street, Edinburgh, at eleven o'clock
that evening. I stayed at Gibbs' Hotel, Princes Street.
I was much impressed with the lights in the back of
the house on the Castle Hill opposite, thirteen stories

" I found next morning Mr. James DeWolfe, and
gave him a letter from his father and mother. He gave
me an invitation to share his lodgings with him, which I
gladly accepted, and took up my residence at Mrs. Innes*


Early Life

lodgings, 5 South College Street, sixth flat on a common
stair. We lived there together until the first of the fol-
lowing August, when he received his degree of M.D. and
returned to Nova Scotia. Our friendship remained un-
broken until his death in 1901. When in the Government
of Nova Scotia, I had the pleasure of appointing him
medical superintendent of the Hospital for the Insane of
Nova Scotia, which position he filled with ability and

" On my arrival in Edinburgh, I petitioned the senatus
of the University to allow me to count the time I spent
with Dr. Page at Amherst, and Dr. Harding at Windsor,
as an Annus Medicus. This was granted. It enabled me
to receive my first examination at the end of two years
after matriculation, and my final examination for the
degree of M.D. at the end of three years instead of four.
Mr. DeWolfe had paid much attention to practical mid-
wifery, and in addition to anatomy, physiology, chemistry
and Materia Medica, I took Professor J. Y. Simpson's

Online LibraryEdward Manning SaundersThe life and letters of the Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Tupper, bart., K. C. M. G.; (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 28)