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The Dominion elections in 1872 were fiercely contested by the liberals, and with every prospect of winning a large majority. Into this contest Mr. Brown threw himself with characteristic ardour, and his efforts were crowned with great success. Indeed, the success was greater than at first appeared, for the country was ignorant for a time of the great advantages enjoyed by the conservatives in the expenditure by their leaders of hundreds of thousands of dollars to carry the election. Shortly after the new House met rumours of the dark transaction reached the public ear; these were increased from time to time until the month of July, when the Globe appeared one morning with a “full, true and particular account” of the great election bribery. At no time in the history of the Globe did it show more power and ability than during the summer and autumn of 1873. Many of its articles were directed to the course of the Governor-General, and denounced his action in proroguing parliament, and agreeing to the appointment of a commission by his ministers to try themselves. It is said that some of these articles were never quite forgotten in viceregal quarters. In addition to the specific acts complained of, the tone of the despatches to the English minister was such as invited comment, and the sending of the famous dispatch to parliament on the eve of an important discussion, so well calculated to aid the accused ministers, confirmed Mr. Brown in the opinion that vice-regal influence was used to an unjustifiable extent, considering the nature of the revelations which had then already been made. Time was to show that Lord Dufferin at least intended only to give his ministers as full an opportunity as possible to make good their “solemn assurances " that they were absolutely innocent of the things laid to their
charge.” In the following five years of Lord Dufferin's term no paper did him fuller justice than the Globe, and Mr. Brown was among the first always to give him credit for being, what he undoubtedly was, a fair and constitutional Governor, though many continued to doubt the wisdom of all he did at the time when the shadow of the Pacific scandal hung over the land. Efforts were made by the Tory press to get a small offset to the notorious Pacific scandal revelations by bringing into great prominence a copy of a letter written by Mr. Brown towards the close of the election campaign to three or four friends, asking for a contribution towards meeting expenses of some elections yet to come off. Mr. Mackenzie stated publicly, when this letter was first published by the party who stole it from Mr. John Simpson's office, that the entire expenditure of the central authorities for election expenses in 1872 was only $3,750, all of which was expended for legitimate purposes, chiefly for printing documents and payment of travelling expenses, but he disclaimed any knowledge of what individual candidates might have spent on their own responsibility.
Early in 1876 a local paper made violent attacks upon Senator Simpson in connection with certain elections, and for having received and responded favourably to Mr. Brown's letter of August 15, 1872. Mr. Simpson applied for a rule to show cause why a criminal information should not issue against the editor of the paper in question on three counts. On the 29th of June the application came before Chief Justice Harrison, Justice Morrison and Justice Wilson. The Chief Justice delivered the judgment of the court, which was in brief that a criminal information should be filed against the editor for two of the offences mentioned ; the third was refused on the ground that a sufficient case had not been made out. Mr. Justice Wilson was not content with the Chief Justice's unobjectionable statement of the opinion of the court, but availed himself of his technical right to enter into a long account of his reasons for concurrence in that judgment. In this extra-judicial speech-it would be an abuse of terms to call it a judgment—he had the bad taste to assail Mr. Brown, who was not in any way before the court, on the ground that the letter referred to
was written with a corrupt intent, to interfere with the freedom of “elections.” Mr. Simpson was similarly assailed, because he was supposed to have received this letter and had contributed money for the purpose asked. The Judge knew that the fact of such a letter being in existence was not legally ascertained, and was not in any way before the court. If he read the public journals--and he read some very diligently as his speech showed—he must have read Mr. Brown's statement, published months before this, respecting the now famous letter, which was as follows: “I have, then, to state " that the party subscription in question was got up to aid in defray“ing the legal and necessary expenses of candidates unable to bear “the whole cost of hotly contested elections, or fighting for the liberal
cause in constituencies hopeless at the moment; and in defraying “the expenses of public speakers, circulating political documents, " and other similar legal and proper expenses of a great electoral con
I believe that the whole of the money subscribed was applied strictly to these purposes. I further state that the entire amount
so raised and so expended was $3,700, or the trumpery sum of $45 " to each of the eighty-two constituencies, had they all participated
And I state still further that there was no general reform “ fund but this for election purposes at the election of 1872, and, had “ there been any other, I think I must have heard of it.” Judge Wilson also had before him Mr. Simpson's statement that he “had
no recollection of having received or having seen any such letter; 66 and that he is quite in he contributed no money to the fund referred to." Clearly Mr. Justice Wilson had no right to refer to a letter not
66 in it.
in any way before him ; had no right to assume guilt to attach to the writer of the letter until it was proven. Nay, he was bound to accept the reasonable and true statement of its author respecting it, until he had legal evidence controverting it. Similarly he had no right to assume moral or political wrong in connection with Mr. Simpson's letter to the Finance Minister, for there was none; nor was there a particle of evidence to sustain such a contention. He propounded the extraordinary doctrine that because Mr. Simpson made 110 statement about a letter not in his possession, when it was not incumbent on him to make any, therefore “it must be assumed that “ he cannot make any satisfactory explanation to the court concerning "it.” There actuaily was, however, an explicit denial under oath by Senator Simpson, in his original affidavit making the application for the rule, in the following words : “I say that the statements, charges, “and imputations therein contained against me, are false, malicious, “and without foundation in fact.
I further say, that the “imputations against me of political intriguing, and of procuring “substantial aid for corrupt purposes, and that I have paid out money
for the purpose of bribery at elections, and that I used the money ** of others corruptly, are untrue, false and malicious." He then proceeded, nevertheless, to give the letter a meaning of his own, and upon that interpretation, which was wholly unsupported by any evidence, to impute corrupt motives to Mr. Simpson. The only justification Justice Wilson gave for his political deliverance from the high seat he occupied was that he “might take notice of those matters “which every person of ordinary intelligence is acquainted with.” It was an unfortunate circumstance that his “acquaintance” was wholly with what he thought would tell against the two senators.
It was no wonder that, a few days after Justice Wilson made this speech on the bench, an article appeared in the Globe from Mr. Brown's pen, headed “Justice Wilson on the War Path,” in which the Judge was handled roughly. The article was a very long and able one, and was a complete answer to the ill-advised attack of the Judge. After a careful and critical analysis of the deliverance of Justice Wilson, combined with statements of fact to set himself right, the article proceeds : “ According to Mr. Justice Wilson's new doctrine, that the "court may properly take notice of those matters which every person "(of ordinary intelligence is acquainted with,' whatever the matter may “be, and whether before the court or not at the moment, we suppose
we must accustom ourselves to such outrages from the bench. But “this Mr. Justice Wilson may rest assured of: that such slanders “and insults shall not go unanswered, and if the dignity of the bench "js ruffled in the tussle, on his folly shall rest the blame. We cast “back on Mr. Wilson his insolent and slanderous interpretation. The " letter was not written for corrupt purposes-it was not written to “interfere with the freedom of elections—it was not an invitation to “ anybody to concur in committing bribery and corruption at the “polls ; and be he Judge or not who says so, the statement is
“ Does Mr. Wilson mean to say that no party fund for proper purposes in election contests can exist—that there are no expenditures of money
in keenly contested elections which are absolutely necessary, “perfectly moral and legitimate, and highly conducive to good govern"ment? Was there no such fund when Mr. Justice Wilson was in
public life? When the hat went round in his contests for the
mayoralty of Toronto, was that, or was it not, a concurrence in “bribery and corruption at the polls ?
“Probably there never was another general election in Ontario, or “ Upper Canada, that on either side of politics cost so small a sum for
general party purposes as the reform expenditure of $3,700 at the “election of 1872; and assuredly there was at it neither the design “that a penny of it should be spent for corrupt purposes, nor was " there a shilling to spare from the legitimate and necessary expendi“tures for any such purpose. How could Mr. Justice Wilson, in his “hunt for things that every person of ordinary intelligence is ac"quainted with,' omit to state that while the entire general election “ of the liberal party for that year (1872) was but $3,700, raised by subscription from a few private individuals, the conservative fund
on the same occasion amounted to the enormous sum of $200,000 “ raised by the flagitious sale of the Pacific Railway contract to a “band of speculators on terms disastrous to the interests of the "country?
“ The law has been greatly changed since the election of 1872. ' Every known method of spending money, under which even the 'suspicion of corrupting the electors could lurk, has been most pro
perly forbidden under severe penalties, and successfully enforced. “But do election contests even now cost nothing? Are there no pure,
legitimate, and legal modes of expenditure still remaining? Of
course there are. In Ontario, official returns on oath are made of " the total expenditure by each candidate in every contest for a seat “in the provincial chamber. And what do these show? Why, that “in the last electoral contest the declared cost of Mr. John Robin“son's election for West Toronto was $893.75; of Mr. Platt's contest “in East Toronto, $972.76 ; of Mr. M. C. Cameron's contest in East “ Toronto, $944.59; and of that of Mr. Crooks in East Toronto, "$957.10; or in all, for the expenses of these four gentlemen alone, “$3,778.20—more than the entire amount of the fund of 1872 for “the general conduct of the entire Dominion elections of Ontario.
“It is in the face of these facts that Mr. Justice Wilson had the “audacity-without any evidence that such a letter ever was written,
or sent, or received, or acted upon, and without the slightest evi“dence as to the circumstances under which it might have been writ
ten, or the special purpose to which the money was to be applied “_to denounce as a thing of monstrous depravity a request by one “reformer to another for a subscription to a general election fund of “probably $50, but at most $100.
“We deeply regret being compelled to write of the conduct of any member of the Ontario bench in the tone of this article, but the “offence was so rank, so reckless, so utterly unjustifiable, that soft “ words would but have poorly discharged our duty to the public." The court or Judge so vigorously assailed did not take any
formal notice of the article; and severe as it was, the general verdict of the country was that no man had a right to shield himself behind the judicial bench, the seat of justice, to make such assaults, and that if made they must be met.
Some months afterwards the editor against whom Mr. Simpson proceeded obtained a rule calling on Mr. Brown to show cause why a writ of attachment should not issue against him, or why he should not be committed for contempt of “this honourable court” for printing the said article. The case was tried before Chief Justice Harrison and Judge Morrison. Mr. Brown appeared in person and claimed, 1st, that the party obtaining the rule had no rights in the matterthat he was not charged with protecting the dignity of the court ; 2nd, that five months had passed since the publication of the article, during which time the court was silent, and that Justice Wilson's judgment and the Globe's criticism were the subject of violent discussion pro or con over the whole Dominion; and that the time had elapsed within which the court could by any rule or usage call him to account for any offence against its dignity.
Mr. Brown then boldly justified the publication of the article, on the ground that he had suffered just provocation, and quoting one passage as follows: “No sooner had the Chief Justice finished than “Mr. Justice Wilson availed himself of the occasion to express his “ views on the matter, with a freedom of speech and an indifference to "the evidence before the court, and an indulgence in assumptions, “surmises and insinuations, that we believe to be totally unparalleled “ in the judicial proceedings of any Canadian court.” Then proceeding, he said: "I wrote so then, I say so now.
I “have searched the law books in vain to find a case parallel to this, " and I defy the learned counsel on the other side to show any language
ever used in the last half of the nineteenth century by any British or