Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Tupper, Charles

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TUPPER, Charles, clergyman, b. in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, 6 Aug., 1794; d. in Aylesford, N. S., 19 Jan., 1881. He was ordained to the work of the Baptist ministry, 17 July, 1817, and was editor of the “Baptist Magazine” in 1832-'6. He was a liberal contributor to the press during the sixty-three years of his ministry, and gained a reputation for scholarly attainments. In 1859 he had read critically the whole Bible in eight languages and the New Testament in ten. Among his published writings are “Scriptural Baptism” (Halifax, N. S., 1850) and “Expository Notes on the Syriac Version of the Scriptures.” —

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His son, Sir Charles, Canadian statesman, b. in Amherst, Nova Scotia, 2 July, 1821, was educated at various private and public schools, and at Horton academy, Wolfville, N. S. He studied medicine in Nova Scotia, and subsequently in Edinburgh university, where he gained the highest honors, and in 1843 became a fellow of the Royal college of surgeons, immediately returned home, began to practise in his native town, and soon stood at the head of his profession, and was president of the Canadian medical association from its formation in 1857 till 1870. He was a Conservative in politics, but took no active part in public matters until 1855, when he was elected to the provincial legislature for the county of Cumberland, his opponent being Joseph Howe, a Liberal. At once Tupper took a marked position in the legislature, and when in 1856 the Johnston cabinet was formed he became provincial secretary of Nova Scotia, serving till 1860, and identified himself with such measures as the abolition of the monopoly in mines and minerals, representation by population, and consolidation of the jury law. In 1858 he went to England on a mission connected with the Intercolonial railway, and while in that country he approached several statesmen on the subject of confederation of the British North American provinces. In 1864 Dr. Tupper became prime minister of Nova Scotia, which post he held until 1867. During those three years he passed the free-school law, which is still in operation in Nova Scotia. In 1864 Dr. Tupper was the active spirit in the maritime union movement, and he went with his fellow-delegates to the conference at Charlottetown, Prince Edward island, where he took a noteworthy part in the discussions that followed. Later in the year he went to the conference at Quebec, where a broader scheme was debated, and where it was decided to unite Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick in one dominion, Prince Edward island declining to enter the compact. Dr. Tupper was also a member of the conference that met in London in 1866-7, where the terms of union were settled in detail. In London Dr. Tupper carried on a vigorous contest with Joseph Howe, who, abandoning the “dream of his boyhood” — confederation — had become chief of the Nova Scotia anti-Confederates. Howe was answered by the pamphlets and speeches that he himself had published in former years, and his famous pamphlet, “Confederation, Considered in Relation to the Interests of the Empire,” found its principal questioner in Tupper's “Letter to the Earl of Carnarvon” (London, 1866). Dr. Tupper was created a companion of the Bath (civil) in 1867. Owing to press of duties, he declined re-election. Sir John A. Macdonald, in forming his first Canadian ministry, offered Dr. Tupper a portfolio; but he declined it, and sat in the commons as a private member until June, 1870, when he entered the cabinet as president of the council. In 1868 he declined the chairmanship of the Intercolonial railway, and in the same year, in behalf of the Dominion government, he went to London to oppose Mr. Howe, who had gone there to urge the imperial authorities to grant Nova Scotia permission to leave the confederacy. In 1872 Tupper became minister of inland revenue, which office he relinquished in the following year to assume the department of customs, holding it till November, when the Conservatives passed out of power. In January, 1874, Tupper was elected by his old constituents for the ninth time. In 1878 he organized the canvass for the coming elections, the “National policy” — protection to native industries — proving his strongest battle-cry. The contest resulted in a return of Sir John A. Macdonald to power, and in October. Dr. Tupper took office as minister of public works. This portfolio he held until the passing of the act to divide that department in 1879, after which he was minister of railways and canals until 24 May, 1884. On 24 May, 1879, he was created a knight of the order of St. Michael and St. George by the Marquis of Lorne, acting in behalf of the queen. In 1880 Sir Charles visited England with Sir John A. Macdonald and John H. Pope for the purpose of negotiating for the construction of the Canadian Pacific railway, the result being that the compact was ratified by parliament, and most of the subsequent acts that led to the completion of the road were introduced by him. In 1883, while yet minister of railways, Sir Charles was appointed high commissioner for Canada in London. The question arising as to the legality of his holding both posts at the same time, an act was passed in parliament relieving him from penalties under the independence of parliament act. At the close of the session Sir Charles resigned his seat in the cabinet and went to London to resume his duties as high commissioner. He received a diploma of honor for special services in connection with the international fisheries exhibition in London, and holds a patent of rank and precedence from the queen as an ex-councillor of Nova Scotia. Party exigency soon demanded his return, and in response to the call of his chief he re-entered active politics, becoming a member of the house of commons for Cumberland county, and minister of finance, his appointment bearing date 27 Jan., 1887. He was appointed executive commissioner for Canada at the international exhibition at Antwerp in 1885, and at the colonial and Indian exhibition at London in 1886. In January, 1886, he received the grand cross of the order of St. Michael and St. George, and in 1887 he was appointed by the imperial government a commissioner to negotiate a treaty with the government of the United States in relation to the Canadian fisheries, his colleagues being Sir Lionel Sackville-West, British minister at Washington, and the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain. The commissioners concluded their labors in February, 1888. He carried a bill through the Canadian parliament for the ratification of the treaty, where it was passed in both houses without division. Sir Charles Tupper performed the duties of finance minister of Canada until 25 May, 1888, when he resigned his office and seat in the house of commons and returned to London as high commissioner for Canada. This post he still (1889) holds. His county has regularly returned him to parliament fourteen times. Sir Charles has identified himself with all the chief measures of the government, and has been instrumental in carrying through parliament the act prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors in the northwest territories, the consolidation railway act of 1879, the act granting a charter to the Canadian Pacific railway company in 1881, the act of 1884 granting a loan to that company, the railway subsidies acts of 1883-'4, the act of 1884 respecting an agreement between the province of British Columbia and the Dominion of Canada, and the customs act of 1887, inaugurating a policy of protection and promotion of the manufacture of iron and steel. In 1862 he was appointed by act of parliament a governor of Dalhousie college, Halifax, and received the degree of D. C. L. from Acadia college, N. S., in 1882, and from Cambridge in 1886. On 29 Aug., 1888 Sir Charles was created a baronet of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, for services in connection with the fisheries treaty at Washington. — His son, Charles Hibbert, b. in Amherst, Nova Scotia, 3 Aug., 1855, was educated at McGill college university, Montreal, and at Harvard. In 1878 he was called to the bar of Nova Scotia, and entered politics for the first time in the Liberal-Conservative interest in June, 1882, when he was elected to the house of commons for the county of Pictou. In June, 1888, he was sworn as a member of the privy council of Canada, and invited by Sir John A. Macdonald to enter his government as minister of marine and fisheries. On presenting himself for re-election he was returned by acclamation.