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job. He filled it well; he spent it politicly. Between three and four hundred thousand dollars were spent or lent by him. The late Sir George Cartier was at first opposed to him, and since he could not be induced to aid he must be put hors de combat. Many of his faithful followers were routed at the hustings, and he saw himself leading a forlorn hope with decimated ranks. Like other warriors he did now what he no doubt wished he had done before he made peace, and did obeisance and accepted the situation. Sir Hugh's money came to his aid as it had been before used against him. Alas! for Sir George. Sir Hugh's money had so crippled Sir George's political legs that he had not a foot to stand on notwithstanding all the healing nostrums of money bountifully supplied from the same source when the day of election came in Montreal. The Montreallers rejoiced in the possession of double bribes all out of Sir Hugh's ample purse, but Sir George suffered sad defeat and retired disgraced and beaten to another field where no sound of political warfare made him afraid.
If there be any harm in bribery; if the corruption of constituencies be criminal; if the laws against bribery enacted in all civilized countries be not without any moral basis; and if it be not the most perfectly legitimate thing in the world to sell one's vote, then Sir Hugh Allen is certainly one of the greatest political and moral criminals that the world ever saw. We are in danger of losing our detestation of the crime while contemplating the grandeur of the scale on which it was committed, and the greatness of the stake for which the game was played. We must think, however, what will be the result to this country, if the course pursued by Sir Hugh Allen should be generally followed by our great Capitalists, and acquiesced in by the Electors.
That there is a low sentiment on this subject among the Electors themselves is deplorable, but by no means does this palliate, rather it increases, the guilt of those who use the base sentiment for their purposes. When we hear persons who possess the franchise, half in joke, half in earnest, during election times, talk of selling their vote to the highest bidder, we are all the more alarmed at the prospects before us. It was when Rome became venal that she was near the loss of her liberty. If the people could only see whither all things are going, when they make so light of the political power vested in their votes, they would surely pause before pawning for either money or promise of favor the trust of freedom which they hold. Every man who is called on to deposit his vote on an election occasion will, when properly instructed regarding the nature of the trust, and the importance of managing it aright, frown upon every attempt made by Capitalists and Politicians to buy from them that which should be beyond all price, and be conscientiously used by them for the public good, for the conservation of the people's interests, and for the wellbeing of posterity.
The immense funds spent on election occasions shew us the magnitude of the evil. Of course there are expenses attending the contests for the representation of any city or county, but these expenses need not be of large amount. When we hear of ten, twenty, fifty thousand dollars spent on local contests, we can come only to one conclusion, viz: that bribery has been resorted to on a scale of great magnitude.
The question how far the Government of the Dominion were implicated in the transactions of Sir Hugh Allen is of great importance.
The evidence does not implicate the Government as a Government. It does implicate members of that Goverment, and especially its chief.
We can only pity poor Sir G. Cartier, as he turned appealingly for salvation to the man who had scuttled his vessel, leaving him to sink in the troubled waters; but we have no such feeling for Sir J. A. McDonald. Whether there was a written compact between Sir Hugh Allen and Sir J. A., other than that confessed by both to the effect that Sir Hugh was to help the Government in the Ontario elections with money, and that the Government were to use their influence to have Sir Hugh appointed chairman of the Pacific Railway, we do not care. Sir John confesses that he was the trustee of a fund for election purposes in Ontario, to which Sir Hugh contributed forty-five thousand dollars, no part of which was used by him in his own election, and says that he does not know how it was spent. It is argued that Sir Hugh was only one of the subscribers, and we must assume that if there were a number of others giving like proportionate sums to their means, the amount required to defray the Ontario election expenses must have been enormous. Here then the question arises-what was such a fund required for ?—necessary expenses? That will hardly be argued. The only reason that can be suggested is briberythe purchase of a certain number of votes. The Premier then, without doubt is guilty of the crime of bribery, of debauching the Electors of Ontario, of aiding in the corruption of the country, even though we should adjudge him clear of the meaner crime of accepting a bribe for aid either given or proposed to be given to the briber in helping him to the great Pacific Railway Contract.
No doubt this will seem a small crime in the eyes of all who have done similar deeds, who have been bought and sold themselves, or who have purchased others. We remember when the McMullen revelations were first made, it was stated by Government supporters, that the reception of such large sums by members of Government was perfectly explicable and justifiable on the principle of a common fund, to which the members of the political party freely subscribed. It was not necessary, they said, to suppose any compact, or promise, or understanding even. By this explication they evidently think that there is no criminality in the expendi
ture of large sums, part of which, according to our lights, must have been needed for bribery purposes. It is also true, that if the opposition could show no more criminality than this, if they failed to connect the subscription more closely with the Railway Contract, if they could not shew by good and probable evidence that the quid pro quo was the influence of the Premier in procuring the Railway Contract for Sir Hugh Allen and his party, they must feel that they had done nothing to prove, on the part of the Premier, any guilt save what they were themselves generally chargeable with. But though they, convicted of like crime, in their own conscience and practice, are precluded from casting stones at their co-partners in guilt, though opponents in politics, that is no reason why others should palliate the tremendous accusation. The galled jade may wince, but why should we whose withers are unwrung. There must be an end put to these great bribery funds; these secret society corruptionists. It should be taken as proof positive, that the crime of bribery has been committed when ten, twenty, or fifty thousand dollars, have been proved to have been expended on an election of a member of Parliament, because such a fund could only be needed for one purpose-the committal of the crime of purchasing votes which ought to be given without fee or reward; and which cannot be given otherwise, without detriment to the voter's own conscience, and to the State which has endowed the Electors with the sacred trust.
We shall not at present, nor until the evidence has been entirely sifted, not merely before the Commission but upon the floors of the Parliament, give an opinion on the more specific charge against the Government, or members thereof, of having more definitely engaged to give the Pacific Railway Contract in return for the large subscriptions by Sir Hugh Allen to their election fund. But we cannot avoid stating our opinion that Sir John A. McDonald and others in the Government and Parliament would be more or less than men if they were not influenced by these immense subscriptions in the day of their political needs, in favour of the man who gave them. Every one understands this. No man who accepts large sums from another man can feel himself free to refuse favours in return to his benefactor. No great harm may arise in private life from this reciprocity of action. But the case is different where the recipient of bounty is entrusted with the dispensation of public patronage for which the giver is earnestly seeking, and without any doubt giving his money for the very purpose of securing. It may be that Sir Hugh Allan was the best qualified to preside over the Pacific Railway; but it may also be that he was not, and it may be that the money and lands were by far too great a price to pay for the proposed work. But by the receipt of such large sums from Sir Hugh Allan was not the judgment of the Premier and his co-receivers liable to be warped ? were not their eyes very naturally blinded so that they could not
be expected to judge rightly on these points? and if so, were these men in any different position from that of a judge on the bench who has taken a large douceur from one of the parties to a suit which is to be tried before him. Whatever be the result of the specific charge, it does not appear to our mind that there is any essential difference in the position of the Premier and his colleagues who have accepted the money of Sir Hugh, whether they received it as a matter of positive bargain, or only on those implied conditions which are so well understood to accompany the giving and receiving of large monetary aid.
Of course we know that all this reasoning will go for little with those who take as their principle, "To the victors belong the spoils." If politics be a mere struggle between the "ins" and the "outs"; if bribery and corruption be esteemed a legitimate warfare; if the ends sanctify the means; if principle be a mere hustings watchword; if the interests of the State are to be sacrificed for mere party benefit-then all that we have said will be considered mere idle talk; but if, on the contrary, politicians are bound to think of the evils of corruption that they may remedy them, to seek the good of the State before their own personal weal, to shun the golden snares by which avaricious men may entrap their freedom of action for the welfare of the country-why, if this and not the former be the programme by which a statesman should try to guide himselfwell, some of our present Government are by no means ideal politicians, and, it is greatly to be feared some of their political opponents are as far as they from coming up to the standard.
In this connection we may say that the action of the Government, in regard to the investigation, by no means impresses us favorably. We pass over the Oaths Bill, and its disallowance, in regard to which probably no blame attaches to our Governmentremarking, however, that it seems very strange that Canadian legislation should be so hampered by English law that a counterpart must be found in the one that there may be validity in the other. We can understand why an Act which affects Imperial interests should be disallowed, but we cannot comprehend how an Act which would be legal, if a similar one were in existence in England, can be illegal because England had not passed such a law, though she might without let or hindrance pass it to-morrow, in which case it would be legal with us also. We look upon the disallowance and the reason therefor as a preposterous absurdity, and utterly inconsistent with the privileges which, we had supposed, we possessed-to make all laws not inconsistent with Imperial interests.
The action of the Government in proroguing the Parliament, without even hearing the report of the Commission, the indecent haste which was shown in that act, and the debarring of any possible action on the part of the respresentatives of the people, appear to us without any valid excuse. The fact that there was not
a full meeting might have a show of reason had the slim attendance not been brought about by the provision and action of the Government itself. In the excited state of parliamentary feeling at the time, it is indeed possible that the Government might have been roughly handled. Its instinct of self-preservation grasped at the dissolution as a means of prolonging its existence. Still, it would in the end have been better for them to have submitted to whatever action it might have pleased the Parliament to take. If the accused were guiltless, they could have shown that before any Court which might have been appointed. Probably the Parliament would have acceded to the appointment of a Royal Commission, if they had been consulted regarding the persons, and the whole enquiry would thus have proceeded smoothly. Huntington would then have brought forward his witnesses, and a line of examination would then have been pursued which would have really elicited the facts of the case. As it has been managed we are no wiser regarding the validity or invalidity of the charges than before it commenced its sittings. What Parliament may do with the report of the Commission at next session we cannot say. If there be not a very serious defection from the Government ranks, the report may be sustained, and the accused exonerated. In no case, will Mr. Huntington be censured. It will be apparent from all that has transpired that there was sufficient reason for the bill of indictment, though the corrupt acts imputed in their grosser form might not be sustained. Should a large defection from the Government side have taken place the proceedings of the Royal Commission may be altogether ignored, but what possible action the Parliament may find itself competent to take, in eliciting further evidence not yet given, we do not know. It is likely that the Government, finding itself in a minority, may be compelled to resign, when the objects of the Grit party being accomplished, no further action may be taken, or if the defeat of the enemy be not esteemed sufficient revenge and sufficient evidence may appear to give reason to hope for condemnation, the accused may be impeached. It is not likely, however, that the incoming party will deem it necessary to pursue the case further. One thing, however, ought to be done. Much more stingent laws should be enacted and put in force against bribery. It is frightful to think on what a precipice our popular representation is now standing, and something must be effectually done to preserve the purity of the franchise, that we may not be wholy delivered over to the will of a ring of Capitalists who will do as they please with the legislation of the Parliament, and the resources of the country.
The course which the Governor General pursued, and that which he might have followed are so nicely balanced that there is little room left for adverse criticism. That he should follow the advice of his ministers while they were sustained by Parliament, has been met by the statement that Parliament should have been asked