Box 13-001 THE TATLER, THE MONTREAL HERALD (WRITTEN BY [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN)
Feb 15 1902
The Montreal Herald, Saturday, February 15, 1902
Contempt proceedings are not very common in Canada, and it is to be regretted that such a case as the recent one in this city should ever occur for a learned counsel should know the line of danger. An advocate may say very severe things to a judge without incurring the penalties of contempt. Sometimes editors, although usually a most wise and prudent class of people, find themselves involved in the meshes of the law in this way. Two cases of this kind occur to me which may be worth recalling, both from New Brunswick. In one case the victim was Mr. John Hawke, editor of the Moncton Transcript, and the other sufferer was no less a personage than Senator Ellis, of the St. John Globe. Both these gentleman suffered terms of imprisonment in Fredericton jail for contempt. Mr. Hawke's offence was that he described Judge Fraser, of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick as Pooh Bah. As Pooh Bah of the Mikado was a taker of bribes this was judged as contempt, and Mr. Hawke was imprisoned. There was no ground whatsoever for the comparison, for a more honest or more worthy man never lived than Judge Fraser. He died while filling the high office of Governor of his native province.
The case of Senator Ellis was a much more important one, and it was pending in the courts for several years. It arose out of the Queen's County election of 1887. The candidates in the contest were Mr. G. G. King, now a Senator, and Mr. Geo. F. Baird, a Conservative. The returning officer, also a Conservative, threw out all Mr. King's votes and declared Mr. Baird elected, although Mr. King had a majority of the votes polled. The ground of this extraordinary decision was that Mr. King's deposit had not been paid in the proper kind of money. The Liberals took the matter before the County Court Judge; the Conservatives applied to the Supreme Court to have the Country Court proceedings stopped. Mr. Ellis, in commenting on matter in the Globe, said, in substance, that as justice was not what was wanted the case was taken before Judge Tuck. This was regarded as a reflection on Judge Tuck's honesty, and was adjudged a contempt. But it took many years to reach this decision; the Conservatives would have been very glad to get rid of the case for they were not proud of the Queen's County election scandal. That was one of the clever tricks that brought them to ruin in 1896.
The scandals, now under investigation, in connection with the purchase of horses for the British army, are not the only ones from which the War Office has suffered. There were rascally contractors during the Peninsular War and also during the Crimean War, when some of the preserved meat sent out to the troops was so bad that Punch tersely described it as , "One man's meal, another man's poison." The worst scandals of the latter war were, however, due to the gross in competency of some of the heads of the administrative departments. The men starved in the trenches in front of Sebastopol - while abundance of food was stored at Balaclava, a few miles away. The excuse given for this shameful state of affairs was lack of transport, meaning horses and mules, and the reason horses and mules were not available was that they could not be fed. This statement would appear incredible did we not have it on the authority of the Commissary General, Mr. Felder. He stated that when the British Army was ordered from Varna to the Crimea, he wrote to England for 2,000 tons of hay, but he was only able to obtain one-tenth of that amount in six months from the time he gave the order. It must be confessed that there has been a wonderful advance in the efficiency of the Commissariat Department of the British Army since the time of the Crimean war. All England was unable to supply 2,000 tons of hay, in six months, to the army in 1885. Yet I observe that one Canadian port, St. John, N.B., has during the past twelve months shipped sixty-five steamship loads to the army in South Africa.
The greatest of all British military scandals arose in 1800. The Duke of York, second son of George III, was then commander-in-chief of the British army. When quite young he was made general of a British force operating on the continent in the wars, which arose out of the French Revolution. In all his operations he proved himself thoroughly incompetent. During the six or seven years he was allowed to command British armies he was responsible for British defeats at Dunkirk, Bois le Due, Boxtel and Bergen, and also for the capitulation at Alkmaer, which ended his career as a general. In 1809 he was commander in chief of the army and had formed a connection with a Mrs. Clarke. It was soon discovered that this woman was trafficking in army commissions and it was presumed that this was done with the Duke of York's authority and for his pecuniary benefit. The well-known poverty of the Duke gave color to the latter supposition. The matter was brought up in the House of Commons, but before anything was done the Duke resigned his command of the army and the charge against him was not proved. No one doubted the Duke's guilt, but within two years he was re-appointed and held the office of commander-in-chief until his death in 1827. The British public would hardly stand such court favoritism at the present day. Even a Royal prince cannot afford to mix himself up with questionable transactions, or with persons of doubtful reputation. But in the Duke of York's time the whole system of army management was a scandal.
Few persons who have given attention to the subject will be disposed to deny that the late Lord Dufferin was the greatest Governor that Canada has had since Confederation. It is true, some one has stated, that Sir John A. MacDonald credited the Marquis of Lansdowne with this distinction, but the old Chieftain may never have made the remark, and if he did make it we are not bound to adopt his opinion. Sir John was in power for only a brief period during Lord Dufferin's term of office, and that may have been a reason for his not having full appreciation of his merits. Nor can these merits be fully recognized by any Canadian who is much under forty, for his work for Canada was of that character which does not make much figure in histories. When Lord Dufferin came to Canada in June, 1872, the country was not in a happy frame of mind; the rebellion in the North-West had just been put under by armed force; Nova Scotia was agitating for repeal; the people of the Maritime Provinces were not proved to be called Canadians; in New Brunswick the free non-secretarian school law was agitating the people; in Ontario there was great dissatisfaction over the terms granted to British Columbia. That spirit of unity which now exists in every part of Canada was almost non-existent. There were a few avowed circumstances in every province, and there were many robbers who while professing to be loyal men were altering down the contrary and declaring it impossible that it would ever develop into a nation. Lord Dufferin act him absolutely to work to comfort this spirit. He visited every part of Canada and [?] the pride of its people by pointing out to them its boundless [?]. He was [?] with a noble [?] and a fine poetic spirit which enabled him to add light and beauty to the most commonplace themselves. The [?] names of British Columbia and Nova Scotia became in the [?] not merely [?] of comfortable material, but pledges of future great news and boundless natural wealth. A few people [?] at his [?] but the public believed on him and now we can see that the picture he made of the future of Canada has not been overdrawn and that every prediction he indulged in with regard to Canada has been of [?] be [?]. All power then to the memory of Lord Dufferin; he was a [?] [?] and able representative of his race and order; he was the first and greatest of the modern [?], and every Canadian should drop a tear upon his grave.
Quite a discussion has taken in England over the action of the editor of Whittaker's Almanac in getting down King Edward VII as the first king of [?] of [?] [?] of the seventh sovereign of the house of Hanover. I have not seen any of the arguments but forth on [?] aide of this subject, but its discussion will at all events have the good result of promoting the study of English history. At first sight it would [?] as if [?] charge was [?], but a slower examination of the precedents does not bear out this conclusion. The first four kings after the Conquest are described as 'Norman Kings'. The last of them was Stephen, son of Adele, daughter of William the Conqueror. His father was the Count of Blois, and if his succession to the throne through a female had been held to justify a change in the name of the dynasty he would not have been counted among the Norman Kings. His case seems quite similar to that of our present King. The next reign, that of Henry II, was the beginning of the Angevin or Plantagenet line. Henry was a great grandson of William the Conqueror, but through a female, his mother being a daughter of Henry I, Henry II bore precisely the same relation to the Conqueror that Edward VII does to George III. The Plantagenets ruled England for two hundred and forty five years ending with Richard II. They were succeeded by the three kings of the house of Lancaster, although I do not see why there should have been any change in the name of the dynasty for Henry IV, the first King of this house, was just as much a Plantagenet as Richard II. He was a direct descendant in the male line of Henry II, and a grandson of Edward III, his father being John of Gaunt, Edward's fourth son, while Richard was a son of the Black Prince, Edward's oldest son. The two Kings of the house of York who reigned, Edward IV and Richard III were also Plantagenets, being descended in the mile line from Edward III.
The Tudors, who came in with Henry VII, were in a very different position. His King had a very imperfect title, and his claim to the crown was through a female, Margaret Beaufort, great grand-daughter of John of Gaunt. In the case of the Stuart's also there were good reasons for changing the name of the dynasty, although their claim to the English crown came through Margaret, daughter of Henry VII, who married James IV of Scotland. The house of Hanover, which began to reign over England in 1714, is descended from James I through his daughter Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, and his grand-daughter the Electress Sophia, mother of George I. The real title of this family to the crown is derived from the Act of Settlement of 1702, which gave Sophia the succession to the throne on the failure of the descendants of Queen Anne. This has not been modified by any recent act and there has been no parliamentary recognition of the house of Saxe-Coburg. It would seem therefore that the present King should be described as of the house of Hanover. It is quite possible, however, that the fact of the kingdom of Hanover no longer existing, it being part of Prussia, might induce the King to favor a change in his dynasty.
It is confidently predicted that the present session of Parliament will be a short one, but those who remember how often such predictions have not been verified will not be disposed to be over sanguine on the subject. Certainly there seems to be no good reason why the session should be long, but much depends on the attitude of the Opposition and the conduct of the bores of the House. These individuals are fortunately not so numerous in the present House of Commons as in the last one, but there are one or two left who are quite capable of adding a month or six weeks to the length of the session by their eloquence. A bore is not always a bad
man; he is usually a conceited creature who thinks that he is gifted with remarkable ability as a speaker and that all men are longing to hear the words which fall from his lips. But there are bores like Sir Hibbert Tupper, who combine with this quality of conceit a deliberate intention to obstruct the business of the House. Two sessions ago I heard Sir Hibbert speak for five and a half hours on a question which any other man would have disposed of in fifteen minutes. The question was one of relating to the refusal of a clearance to a steamship by the collector of Dawson City. The refusal of the collector was based on the perfectly good ground that the crew had not been paid. The facts were simple and could all have been stated in five minutes by any clearheaded man. But Sir Hibbert spun the matter out to such an inordinate length that even the
strongest Conservatives were disgusted and the House was empty most of the time he was addressing it.
It is to be regretted that the census figures in regard to rural and urban populations in 1901 as compared with 1891 are not always accurate, and are therefore liable to mislead the public. A New Brunswick paper points out some of the errors that have crept into the census with regard to that province. The rural population of New Brunswick is represented as showing a large decrease and the urban population a very large increase both statements being contrary to the fact. There was a slight increase both in the rural and urban population of the province in the ten years prior to 1901. The census commissioner was evidently misled by the manner which the last census was taken. Portland, which was incorporated with St. John in 1880, was not counted as urban in 1891, although it had then 14,000 inhabitants. Chatham, in the county of Northumberland, was a town of 5,000 people in 1891 but as it was not then incorporated it was put down in the census of that year as rural, while the census of 1891 makes it urban, it being now incorporated. Yet Chatham has changed very little in ten years and certainly it was quite as much of an urban community in 1891 as in 1901. These errors which are part due to lack of oral knowledge will have to be corrected.
I saw some strangers in town the other day admiring the statue of [?Malanneuve] in the Place d'Armea. It is certainly a noble heroic figure a worthy monument to the founder of Montreal. Yet I understand that this statue does not profess to be a portrait, because no authentic likeness of the original is known to exit. It is therefore a wholly ideal figure, intended in [?] and represent the nobility of the man and the great achievement. Viewed in that light it is admirable, and I could not help contrasting with it unfavorably the statues of our public men on Parliament Hill at Ottawa. I think there is a pretty general impression among the people that in these statues they have hardly got the worth of their money. I notice that they do not seem to attract much attention or admiration. Even the stranger who is visiting Ottawa for the first time between [?] no more than a passing glance. They represent, but they are of bronze, almost black in color and convey only a shadow impression of the originals. A statesmen with the complexion of on Ethiopian and metal hair but not likely to recall to an old friend the characteristic of Sir John A Macdonald. In London in St. Stephen's Hall one of the entrance to the House of Commons, they have marble statues of some of England's great men Hamodem, [?], Chatham, Pitt, Burke, Fox, and others. Now, marble is not a perfect material in which to represent a man, but it is better than because, and these figure of reach can be [?] and showing in [?] measure what there statesmen looked like. Perhaps something of the same kind might be done at Ottawa.
A friend of my elbow who is a good deal of a Philistine suggests that the only perfect material in which to delineate the human feature is wax and that of the people of the next generation wish to know just what their statesmen looked like they must demand the establishment of a gallery similar to that of Madame Tussaud, which for a century or more has existed in London. No doubt the suggestion will provide the opposition and ridicule of the alleged admires of Art, but it is worthy of consideration. Certainly a wax figure can be made a speaking likeness, and the object of the Government is to preserve the features of our statesmen to future generation I do not know of any other way in which it can be done so well.