Between 1863 and 1867 I saw a good deal of D'Arcy McGee, [...] he was a member of John A. Macdonald's Cabinet, and often discussed with me the lamentable position of the Catholics in Upper Canada - nearly all of whom had up to 1850 been supporters of the Reform Party, led by the Honourable Robert Baldwin, but had, throught the unrelenting hostility and intolerance of George Brown, been driven into the Conservative camp, and had become active supporters of that party under the leadership of John A. Macdonald, who ever after utilized the name of George Brown and what he called "the iniquitous malevolence of The Globe " to keep them in the Conservative fold. So that, no matter how strong their Liberal predilections might have been, self-respect forced them to remain supporters of the Conservative party, if George Brown was not to succeed to power.

[...] When United British America will start in its race with 4,000,000 of a free people, in religion they will be about 55 per cent. Protestant to 45 per cent. Catholic; in some localities the religious minority may be small, and may apprehend local oppression, but the two great masses will be too nearly balanced to suffer any oppression to be long inflicted on the co-religionists of either. Our near equality will be the best guarantee of our mutual tolerance. With one-half of the constituent power against him, it is evident that no fanatic, no bigot, no troubler of other men's consciences, no insulter of other men's creeds, can ever rise to the dimensions of a statesman in British America.

[...] I went by appointment to Hamilton to meet Sandfield and discussed with him the position of the Catholics in Ontario; when he stated that the conditions that had theretofore prevailed could not, and would not, continue; that the country would not, as formerly, be torn by party cries, and that his Government would be a "no party" Government, composed of leading members of the Conservative and Liberal parties, and I might rest assured the Catholics would be not only fairly but generously treated by his Government.

[...] Three years of Sandfield's Administration were nearly expired, and as he was utterly indifferent to the promise made to me, I had recourse to the press, in order, if possible, to secure some redress. At that time (1870) the Catholics of London - with the exception of eight or ten electors - had for many years been supporters of the Consrvative party, and of Mr. Carling, who was a large property owner in the city, and held the dual position of member of the House of Commons and of the Legislative Assembly, and was a Cabinet Minister in Sandfield Macdonald's Government. He was also a director of the Great Western Railway, the owner of an extensive brewery, a large employer of labor, and a most popular citizen - a popularity he well deserved, as his was a generous and kindly disposition, and he had a cordial greeting for all, whether political friend or opponent.

As far as the Catholic vote was concerned, the like conditions existed in most of the western constituencies as in London - almost the entire body voted Conservative.

[...] At a meeting of the electors held in a hall over a driving shed in Lucan, in the Township of Biddulph, at which both political parties were represented, Mr. (now Sir John) Carling and others came from London, as part of the Conservative contingent, while myself and a goodly number of electors for the Townships of Biddulph and McGillivray represented the liberal interest. After the meeting was organized, Mr. Carling and the other Conservatives there insisted that I should first address the electors, and I ascended the raised platform reserved fot the speakers, and began my address, but was constantly interrupted by three or four of the opposite side, and finding they were much cheered by their friends in the audience, I said, as there appeared a determination not to hear me, I would not detain the audience any longer, and I stepped from the platform. Mr. Carling, seeing how injurious the tactics of his friends was likely to prove, called upon them to desist, and urged me to continue my address. I, also for tacitcal reasons, refused, and with the Liberal representation proceeded towards the side of the hall where the exit was, when the flooring gave way, and nearly the entire assemblage was precipitated into the street, and had it not been that a wagon was standing under the shed, and broke the fall of the floor, the result would have been most disastrous. As it was, only a few were injured, by being bruised and scratched.

There was always plenty of excitement and fun at the Biddulph meetings, and one night while I was addressing the electors in the "swamp schoolhouse" in that township the opposing factions engaged in a free fight, knocking over a large stove in which a fierce fire was burning, and Mr. Mackintosh, thinking it unsafe to remain, seized the satchel containing his polical ammunition, jumped on a table, and endeavored to climb out through a small window in the gable end of the schoolhouse. Finding egress through such an aperture impossible, his return to the floor was hailed with much derisive cheering and laughter by the crowd, because he, an Irishman, and the son of a British officer, turned his back on a little skirmish like that. Whenever we meet Mr. Mackintosh never fails to remind me of the lively night at the swamp schoolhouse.

Source: Justice Hugh MacMahon, "Reminiscences" (Toronto: self-published, ca. 1908).

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