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The Fairbank Story & Sunnyside Mansion

We are very pleased to present this page featuring the history of one of the towns great leaders and a name
that is synonymous with Petrolia and the Oil Industry. On this page we hope to highlight the technical
advancements and political career  of JH Fairbank. Please check often as this page will evolve
in the near future. It is also our pleasure to present the book by Patricia McGee 'The Story of Fairbank Oil'

click here for Fairbank Oil website


                                                         Edna Fairbank                                                     John Henry Fairbank
                                                           Liz Welsh collection

A traveling store, with the banner Vantuyl & Fairbank ca.1908

From an original carte de visite with the caption "Residence of
Edwin D. Kerby Petrolia. E.D. Kerby and J.L. Englehart
bachelors rented the house at the time this was taken.
This house was at the top of the hill.
 The Fairbanks Mansion was built on this land and the house was moved back, to become the Coach House with living quarters above.Sometime in 1970 or early 1971 it was partially destroyed by fire. Part of the building remains today at the rear as a shed." The carte de visite
was in a group of Petrolia photos from the Drope Estate. I have left the file huge so that you can enjoy the detail.


The famous Sunnyside Mansion built ca.1891
Some of the family went West   'click here for more'

Charles Fairbank installs 150th Anniversary stained glass windows at Victoria Hall in Petrolia, "click here for more"

These are 2 views of the Real Estate hand out for the 
Mansion when it was for sale in the late 1960s

                                                                                              photo by Sager

This is an interesting envelope that I bought on line from ca.1888 to Fairbank's
partner's relative T. VanTuyl

Here are 3 views of an envelope that I recently purchased. Mr.VanTuyl must have sold bikes. ca.1895

                                                                                               editor's collection

                                                                                                                               editor's collection

Warning to Inhabitants of Petrolia, Infectious Disease is among us.
I got this item from B.Parsons

Excerpted from Packard: The Pride, Automobile Quarterly,
Clara Fairbank had a Packard that is featured  in the book 'Packard The Pride  by J.M. Fenster'. With permission the Fairbank Packard story is here for your enjoyment.

Above is a Fairbank Electric Ltd teapot.It is shown in the middle beside a ca.1799 Staffordshire teapot and a ca.1760s tea bowl.
The pic on the right shows the teapot bottom with the Fairbank Electric logo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Petrolia Topic
Charles Fairbank sr. {Mr Petrolia} showing an oil related item as usual. ca 1973

These are included not only because of the CO.Fairbank signitures but
also because these cancelled cheques have the tax stamp on them.
 These were sent in by JJ.Goldberg T.O.

The book by Pat McGee wife of Charles Fairbank is a 
comprehensive look at the family and it's contribution to the oil 
       "Oil defines today's civilization.
 It ignites our economies in
 a thousand ways and it is so
critical that nations wage war to get it. As
an industry, oil exploded into a global
juggernaut. It's so enormous that it's
almost impossible to believe that it began
in Oil Springs, Ontario not quite 150 years
ago. Through it all, the Fairbank family has
pumped oil in the same place using the
same technology.
This galloping tale is peppered with
the colorful accomplishments of the
four generations of Fairbank men who
witnessed, recorded and made history. It
opens with John Henry Fairbank and how
he became Canada's biggest oil producer,
built the biggest mansion in Lambton
County and owned the largest hardware
store west of Toronto. Three times the
oil property and the hardware store
have passed from father to son and the
businesses survive, even thrive to this day.
But more than a tale, this story also details
how the unique technology has allowed
Fairbank Oil to ship its crude to Imperial
Oil for more than 120 years."....Pat McGee

   Patricia McGee worked for
years as an associate editor
on national magazines and
earlier, as a news reporter
in three provinces. She was
a CBC radio correspondent,
and penned her first book, Canada's
Tale of Toil and Oil, in 1996. She became
intrigued by the Fairbank story when
she was editor of London Magazine.

Pat's book is available at the following stores:  
The Book Keeper {Sarnia}  
Contagious Crafts {Petrolia}  
Rebbeca's Place {Petrolia}  
Oil Museum of Canada, { Oil Springs }
Van Tuyl & Fairbank Hardware {Petrolia}  
Editors NOTE: This book is a must for all Hard Oilers and   
anyone else that finds the history of Petrolia and it's   
contributions to the Oil Industry fascinating . At $ 23 and  
change this is the bargain of the book world.



Yet another article about Fairbank Oil, from ca.1970s

                                                                                                       editor's collection
A very interesting cheque with a rare John D Noble signature

                                                                                                                         Don Gibbson collection
This is a pic of Major Benjamin VanTuyl's son in his Boer War uniform. Major VanTuyl
came to Petrolia after the American Civil War and Thomas was born in Petrolia
ca.1871. Thanx to Don Gibbson for researching the VanTuyl family.

                                                            editor's collection
  Major Benjamin VanTuyl

Very interesting VanTuyl & Fairbank envelope return address on company correspondence.

This is the giant picture given to J.H. Fairbank on Christmas ca.1895. It has pictures and names of all the employees at the time. It is a good source of names of the common man of the period. I have been able to provide many people pictures of their relatives via this picture. This huge picture hangs in Victoria Hall.

                                                                                                                          photo by Roy Rose
A very interesting panoramic partial view of the Fairbank Oil property in Oil Springs. The resolution is left huge on the link so you can enjoy the detail.


  Petrolia Heritage is proud to present a document by Edward Phelps. This document appears here in it's entire form from Mr.Phelps thesis  which he wrote in the spring of 1966. The  details of the 1885 Filibuster and J.H. Fairbank"s views and feelings on the Louis Riel issue make this an unprecedented view into Canadian politics during the MacDonald regime. This document also shows an insight into the oil industry's infancy.
 Some may find the references a nuisance but I have reproduced the document here as close to original as possible.

Petrolia’s First Member of Parliament
J.H. Fairbank in Ottawa

John Henry Fairbank, born in New York in
1831, emigrated early in life to Upper Canada.
In 1861 he settled at Oil Springs, and in 1866
moved,to Petrolia. He rose to prominence as
Canada's foremost producer of crude oil during
his fifty years in Lambton County. He also
founded a bank and engaged in several other
business enterprises in Petrolia.
When the federal riding of Lambton was
divided in 1882, and Alexander Mackenzie,
(Canada's Prime Minister from 1873 to l878)
retired,Fairbank ran for the East Lambton seat
in the House of Commons. Although he was a
Liberal in an area that was basically Conserva-
tive, he won the election on the strength of his
local appeal. His opponent was a relatively
unknown lawyer from Sarnia. In 1887, however,
the local Conservative won East Lambton from
Fairbank, and the Liberals with a strong local
candidate, George Moncrieff. Retiring from
politics, Fairbank remained active in business.
He died at Petrolia in 19l4.

By Edward Phelps*
- 1 -
John Henry Fairbank, Member of Parliament for the riding of East
Lambton between 1882 and 1887, entered politics in the midst of a pros-
perous business career.  A staunch Liberal, he had never previously
held elective office apart from that of village Reeve, nor did he take
an active part in politics after he retired from parliament.  As an
Opposition back-bencher, during the years when the Conservative Party
under the leadership of Sir John A. Macdonald enjoyed a strong majority,
Fairbank exerted little or no influence on government policy, nor made
any lasting mark in the political annals of the country.  His surviving
papers, however, afford an interesting view of the activities of a
typical Ontario M.P. during this period. 1
A descendent of a long line of New England colonists and soldiers,
J.H. Fairbank was born at Rouses Point, New York, on 21 July 1831.  With
no resources but his capacity for hard work, he left his home in 1853 at
the age of 22 to make a living in Ontario, then called Canada West.
Settling at Niagara Falls, he boarded at the home of Hermanus Crysler,
and worked as a surveyor.  On 8 September 1855 he married Edna Crysler,
his landlord's daughter, and settled down to a quiet life of farming,
with occasional surveying work and a fire insurance agency as sidelines.
In March 1861 Fairbank accepted an assignment to survey some bush
land in the recently opened Lambton County oil field, 150 miles to the
west.  This opportunity proved to be the key to Fairbank's future career,
for it introduced him at first hand to the booming oil industry and a way
of life very different from the placid existence to which he had been
accustomed.  Leaving his wife and two small sons on the farm at Niagara
Falls, he returned again to Oil Springs after the survey was finished
to try his luck in oil.  He risked his own meagre savings and all the
money he could borrow in drilling a well.  After an agonizing period
of initial failure, his first venture succeeded and after three years
of hard work during which he acquired several more wells and a small
refinery, Fairbank was launched on a successful career in the oil
business.  From a shoe-string operator, like hundreds around him, he
* Mr, Edward Phelps, Secretary of the Lambton County Historical Society
and a member of the Library staff at the University of Western Ontario,
completed his degree of Master of Arts in May 1965.  The Subject of his
M.A. thesis is John Fairbank - A Canadian Entrepreneur.
1-'The Fairbank Papers were generously donated to the U.W.O. Library by
Mr. Charles 0. Fairbank, a grandson of the subject of this article.
* The collection is described by the writer in Western Ontario Historical
Notes, XVII, 2 (Sept. 1961), pp. 89-91.

rose rapidly to command the confidence of the business community at Oil
Springs and secured for his absent family whom he frequently visited, a
standard of living much higher than they had known before.  When in 1865
Oil Springs declined, nearly becoming a ghost town, its oil wells having
given out, Fairbank became one of the pioneers who opened up a rich new
and permanent oil field six miles to the north at Petrolia.  By 1866 he
had definitely cast in his lot with the oil industry,  He therefore sold
his old farm and moved his family into a new home on the main street of
this thriving village which had so recently sprung from the wilderness.
Over the next forty years Fairbank built up a local business
empire by investing the growing profits from oil in closely related
enterprises.  In 1865 he started a grocery, liquor and hardware store
which in 1874 evolved into a hardware and oil well supply business.
This enterprise was undertaken in partnership with Major Banjamin
VanTuyl.  Now (1966) in its one hundred and first year, VanTuyl &
Fairbank may be the oldest business in Petrolia.  In 1866 Fairbank took
a leading role in building a railway line to join Petrolia with
Wyoming, five miles to the north on the Great Western Railway.  An
important link to the oil fields, the little railroad was soon after-
wards purchased by the latter company.  Fairbank also took an active
interest in civic affairs throughout his long career: to name only              
three of his community services, he acted as Reeve of Petrolia during
the years 1868 to 1870, as Fire Chief from 1874 to 1889, and as
Chairman of the Board of Health for several years.
In the year 1869 Fairbank greatly expanded his business operations
by establishing, in partnership with Leonard B. Vaughn, one of Petrolia's
most useful institutions: a bank.  This firm operated for fifteen years
before it encountered competition from branches of regular chartered
banks.  Vaughn & Fairbank thus played a leading role in the orderly
commercial development of the crude oil industry in Western Ontario.
Despite the size and variety of his other interests, Fairbank
remained first and foremost a producer of crude oil.  At the height
of his career he was the largest single producer in Canada and for
this reason was the chief of the acknowledged leaders of the industry.
He participated in several combinations formed by the producers be-
tween 1862 and 1889 when they were contending with the refiners for
domination of the Western Ontario oil industry. 2
  2 The first of these combinations appears to have been the Canada Oil
Association, formed at Oil Springs in 1862.  It is described in this
writer's article, "The Canada Oil Association - an Early Business
Combination," in Western Ontario Historical Notes, XIX, 2 (Sept.
1963), pp. 31-39.  James Kerr, a contemporary of Fairbank, assigned
the latter first place among the oil producers in an article, "The
Oil Belt," in the Toronto Mail, 1 December 1888. (Reprinted as "An
early view of Petrolia. Ontario," in Western Ontario Historical
Notes, XVII, 2 (Sept. 1962), pp. 57-91.)
                                 Notes.XVII, 2 {Sept. 1962 }, pp. 57-91}
 Sometimes this involved setting up a refinery in competition with those
already established. Fairbank was involved, by his own account, in no
less than seven refining ventures over a period of thirty years.  Apart
from his interests in banking, oil and hardware, Fairbank also engaged
in manufacturing and farming.
While many of his contemporaries found that their heavy business
responsibilities precluded them from taking an active part in politics,
Fairbank was an exception.  At some time in his career, he evidently
took the Oath of Allegiance which permitted him to become a naturalized
Canadian citizen, and later took enough interest in party politics to
become a conscious adherent of the Liberal Party. 3
As Fairbank left no papers concerning his early involvement in
politics, one can only speculate on the circumstances leading to his
choice of the Reform, rather than the Tory party.  The constituency of
Lambton had been traditionally Liberal since its formation in 1854.
From 1861 to 1882 it was the riding of Alexander Mackenzie, who was
Canada's Prime Minister for the years 1873 to 1878.  During Mackenzie's
tenure, however, a pocket of Conservative opposition had emerged in
the heart of the riding.  Here, at Petrolia and Oil Springs, the
growing population of oilmen traditionally voted Conservative because
the survival of their industry depended upon the maintenance of
strong protective tariffs against American imports.  Doctrinaire
Reformers had been making disturbing statements for years in favour
of free trade, which oilmen feared would wipe out the oil trade of
Canada along with many other home industries.
In the face of disapproval from the majority of his business
colleagues, Fairbank's choice of the Reform Party is rather surprising.
As a strong individualist, of course, Fairbank was accustomed to making
up his mind independently on political matters.  At the start he quite
possibly contributed to the campaign funds of both parties, as has been
the custom of many wealthy individuals and corporations.  As a prominent
Lambton businessman, however, Fairbank soon came to know Alexander
Mackenzie, his representative at the capital.  It seems safe to assume
that personal regard for the future Prime Minister, rather than political
expedience, dictated his choice of the Reform Party.  To a certain extent
the careers
3 The terms "Liberal" and "Reformer" have been used interchangeably
by the writer, following the usage of recent Canadian historical
writing.  Contemporary writers and speakers generally used the
name "Reform" to distinguish that party from the "Liberal-Conser-
vatives," more often simply called the "Conservatives."
To become a Canadian (i.e. British) citizen, an alien had
to prove three years' residence in Canada, declare his intention
to remain, and take an oath of allegiance.  This procedure entitled
the naturalized citizen to all the political rights enjoyed by a
British citizen,
(Canada.  Revised Statutes, 1886, cap.113, sec.15)

of Fairbank and Mackenzie were parallel: both men rose 'to the top from
humble beginnings, and both were practical, direct, honest, and un-
sophisticated in their approach to politics and business.  Fairbank
could not of course, follow the Reform leader without accepting the
Reform policies.  Mackenzie, however, was inclined to be realistic in
his views on free trade, and favored the protection of industries
already established.  Both Fairbank and Mackenzie were convinced that
free trade, or unrestricted reciprocity, was an unacceptable policy
for any Canadian party.  (Not until 1891 did the Liberal Party fight
an election mainly on this issue.  This action was bitterly denounced
by the two men, by then retired from politics.)  Since Fairbank flew
in the face of local opinion when he cast in his lot with the Liberals
he must have been delighted when, in 1876, the government of Alexander
Mackenzie confirmed the protective oil tariff previously imposed by
the Conservatives.
Fairbank's importance in the political hierarchy of his home
riding of Lambton was established by 1872-3 when he was chosen on
two separate occasions to nominate Alexander Mackenzie as the local
candidate for the House of Commons.  In a traditionally Reform riding
which had no dearth of political stalwarts, this choice would come
as a distinct honor to any man.  The first nomination took place on
21 August 1872 in the general election when Mackenzie was leader of
the opposition, the second occurred fifteen months later.  The Pacific
Scandal had just brought about the downfall of the Macdonald govern-
ment on a want of confidence motion, and Alexander Mackenzie was
named Prime Minister.  He immediately returned home to Sarnia for the
by-election rendered necessary by his appointment to the government.
On 25 November 1873 Mackenzie was duly nominated, and re-elected by
acclamation amidst great rejoicing among the Reformers of Lambton
and the entire country.
Fairbank during the next ten years was one of the prominent
supporters to whom Mackenzie, first as Prime Minister and then again
   (1878-1880) as Leader of the Opposition, turned for advice on local
   matters.  Fairbank probably never imagined in those years that he
would be called upon to succeed Mackenzie when the latter ultimately
relinquished the Lambton riding.
J.H. Fairbank's election to Parliament, 1882.
Between 1873 and 1882 Fairbank devoted the major share of his
attention to his business affairs, following closely the progress
of the Mackenzie administration in Ottawa through the Toronto Globe
and other Reform papers.  When his ministry fell in the general
election of 1878 Mackenzie easily retained the safe Lambton seat.
In 1881, his health failing, the leader decided to contest the riding
of York East, close to his new home in Toronto, instead of attempting

to represent Lambton and his old neighbors whom he now saw but seldom. 4
Thus deprived of Mackenzie, the Reformers of Lambton cast about
for the man in their midst best equipped to carry the Liberal standard.
They considered Fairbank, knowing of his popularity, his competence,
his loyalty, and his fortune.  Fairbank declined to stand for the riding,
maintaining that the state of his health would not permit the necessary
canvassing and the physical inconveniences of a campaign in what was
then a sizeable riding.5  He consented, however, to act as Chairman
of a Mackenzie Testimonial Committee.  During the year 1882 this group
collected $5,500 as a gift to Alexander Mackenzie in appreciation of
his years of service to Lambton County, which had seen the loss of his
health and most of his money. 6
While the Lambton reformers debated the choice of a successor
to the illustrious Mackenzie, events in Ottawa complicated their problem,
During the session of 1882 the Conservative government of Sir John A.
Macdonald introduced a redistribution bill with the purpose of giving
the country more adequate representation by population, using the
figures compiled for the census of 1881.  The Prime Minister "decided
4. Dale C. Thomson, Alexander Mackenzie; Clear Grit (Toronto, 1960), p.370.
5. The Watford Advocate-Adviser, 26 May 1882, carried a lengthy report
on the Reform Convention held at Watford on 23 May.
   J.H. Fairbank and his son Major Charles Fairbank compiled two books
of clippings concerning their political activities, which
the present owner, Mr. Charles 0. Fairbank, of Petrolia, made avail-
able to the writer.  Most of the newspapers cited in connection with
the election of 1882 have been consulted through these clippings.
The collection of clippings is of outstanding value for two reasons.
No files have survived for some of the papers clipped, while the
Fairbanks saved items hostile to their cause, as well as those that
were sympathetic.  Unfortunately, in some cases neither the name
of the newspaper nor the date was recorded.
6.  A two-page circular, entitled "To the Reformers of Lambton," and
dated 28 February 1882, probably compiled by Fairbank (copy in
Fairbank Papers), was composed to bring the matter before Mackenzie's
Lambton friends.  Thomson, op.cit., p. 375 records the presentation.
The Toronto Globe said, "It is rare indeed that any statesman, how-
ever eminent his rank or distinguised his career, has received such
a signal mark of esteem and friendship as was presented to the Hon.
Alexander Mackenzie, M.P., last evening at his residence by a depu-
tation from his former constituency of Lambton."  (October 1882;
exact date unavailable at time of writing.)

to take the opportunity, as he put it, to 'hive the Grits'.  Ignoring
municipal and county borders, he rearranged the constituencies in a
brazen attempt to give his candidates every possible advantage in the
election.  Reform-minded Lambton was divided." 7   Sarnia, the county
town, together with the townships of Plympton, Sarnia, Moore, Sombra,
Dawn, and Euphemia were reluctantly conceded to the Liberals as the
old stronghold of Mackenzie.  The town of Petrolia and the townships
of Enniskillen, Brooke, Warwick, and Bosanquet, which together had
generally yielded a majority for the Conservatives, were erected into
a new riding known as East Lambton.  Because of the past voting record
and known Conservative leanings, of the oil district, this constituency
had obviously been "cut out as a Tory preserve". 8   In the election of
1878 as part of the Lambton riding the area had returned a Conservative
majority of eighty-six. 9  In 1882 the Lambton Reformers had to find
not one candidate, but two.
Although Fairbank, for reasons of health, had declined to canvass
all Lambton as a candidate for the House of Commons, he agreed to stand
for the much smaller new riding of East Lambton, where he was more widely
known than in the rest of the county.  On 23 May 1882, he was unanimously
chosen as the Liberal candidate at a large and enthusiastic convention
at Watford. 10  About the same time, the West Lambton Reformers chose
Joseph F. Lister, a prominent Sarnia Lawyer, to contest that seat, regarded
as a safe Liberal constituency. 11
7. Thomson, op.cit, p. 373.  D.G. Creighton, John A. Macdonald:  the
Old Chieftain (Toronto, 1955), p. 335, says, "The redistribution
was designed to secure a party advantage.  Liberal voters were to
be concentrated in as few ridings as possible, thus increasing the
Conservatives' chances of success."
8 ."Mr. Fairbank's election for a constituency that was especially cut
out for a Tory preserve was doubly gratifying."  (Unidentified
clipping, Fairbank scrapbooks).
9. In a letter thanking his supporters, Fairbank said, "Starting
against an adverse majority of 86, you have won by 165."  (Petrolia
Advertiser, 30 June 1882).
10. Watford Advocate-Adviser, 26 May 1882; Toronto Globe, 24 May 1882.
11. Mr. Lister's return, though regarded as certain, was very grati-
fying by reason of the large majorities he received in all parts
of the riding, testifying to his personal popularity as well as
proving that old Lambton is sound to the core, politically."
(Unidentified clipping; Fairbank scrapbooks).

Feeling sure of winning East Lambton, the Conservatives had already
 chosen on 18.May 1882 another Sarnia lawyer, John Alexander Mackenzie
(1837-1894), to carry their standard against Fairbank . 12   "He was un-
doubtedly the ablest, and individually the strongest man in the ranks
of the Tory party in Lambton;" 13 possibly his intended election from
a safe seat/was meant to herald a lifetime parliamentary career.  Al-
though the former member, Alexander Mackenzie, the new
rival had the advantage of possessing his famous name, which may have
delivered a few votes to him from the ranks of the politically un-
sophisticated portion of the electorate.  (His Christian names had an
entirely different political significance.)  Because Mackenzie lived
outside the riding, however, he was unable to counter Fairbank's
appeal to the local loyalties, which, in the view of this writer,
was the key to Fairbank's victory in the election of 1882.
The election campaign was short and sharp, with the outcome in
doubt to the end.  A contemporary newspaper eloquently summarized the
East Lambton situation.
The thought that one of its ridings might be made a resting
place for a Tory representative nerved the Reformers of the
county to unwonted exertions.  In the East the fight was un-
usually sharp and exciting.  The odds there, judging by the
result of the 1878 elections, were greatly in favour of the
Government candidate.  [John A. Mackenzie] ... Failure under
his leadership meant a long farewell to Tory hopes in either
riding of the county.  Men threw themselves into the contest,
on each side, who had never exerted themselves in an election
before; excitement grew to fever heat as the polling-day
approached, and both sides counted upon victory as certain. 14
During the four-week campaign the two candidates canvassed the
small riding energetically and spoke at numerous election meetings where
they often confronted each other over the issues at stake.  While
Mackenzie generally received warm support from his hearers for his
enunciation of Macdonald's National Policy, which found favour in
East Lambton, Fairbank made a wide-ranging attack on the whole record
of the Conservative government as well as its National Policy.  Indeed,
12. Petrolia Advertiser, 2 June 1882.  As if to emphasize their lack
of concern over the riding, the Conservatives nominated their
absentee candidate at a convention held outside the riding - at
Wyoming, five miles north of Petrolia.  Wyoming was in West Lambton.
13. Quoted from an unidentified clipping entitled "The Lambtons".
(Fairbank scrapbook ]
14. Ibid.

Mackenzie "thought it very unfair of Mr. Pardee and Mr. Fairbank to
introduce other questions than the N.P., which was really the Issue now
before the electors." 15.  Mackenzie proved no match for Fairbank's
speaking and debating skill.
It was plain ... that the progress of the canvass was favourable
to Mr. Fairbank.  In every way the comparison between the two
candidates was to the latter's advantage.  He developed unexp-
ected strength on the platform, proving more than a match for
his opponent in argument, while his friends worked like heroes
in his behalf among the electors ... Mr. Fairbank ... is so
full of dry humour, that ... his political speeches are made
doubly interesting by his pointed sallies of wit. 16
15. The Sarnia Observer commented sarcastically, "Mr. J. A. Mackenzie
repeated the speech made by him at Thedford the previous evening,
the only variation being the laughable simplicity with which he read
extracts of Sir John Macdonald's speeches, and sought to Impose them
on his audience as evidence of such unimpeachable veracity, that
they could not be any possibility be doubted."  (2 June 1882).
16. Unidentified clipping, "The Lambtons," in the Fairbank scrapbooks,
The Toronto Grip, 3 June 1882, printed a cartoon on the front page
entitled, "The Skippers in the Cheese," which was inspired by a remark
of Fairbank's.  On page 2, under "Cartoon comments,"  Grip said, "At
length a nickname has been invented to describe the Tories and offset
their stinging phrase, "Flies on the Wheel," as applied to the Grits.
To Mr. J. H. Fairbank, of Petrolia, the Oppositionists are Indebted
for this addition to their political vocabulary.  In the course of
his speech accepting the nomination for East Lambton, Mr. Fairbank
christened his opponents "Skippers in the Cheese," and proceeded at
some length to point out the aptness of the parallel.  Both sides
are now happy."
The Watford Advocate-Adviser (26 May 1882) reported of this
episode, "As an offset to the courteous designation of "flies on
the wheel" it struck him [Fairbank] that "Skippers in the Cheese,"
could be appropriately applied to the present Ministry and its
attendant hordes of office-seekers.  (Laughter.)  In many respects
they closely resembled each other; indeed, there was quite a resemblance,
Their habits were very similar.  Skippers get blown into the curd,
or cheese, and this is the way the Tories get into power - generally
by some neglect on the cart of the people.  When the skippers get in
they don't want to leave.  So it is with the Tories.  Indeed, the
latter appear to think that they have some sort of a Divine right to
the position, and that the cheese is far better for their being there,
although a good many other people think differently.  He knew of only
one more unhappy sight than a skipper out of cheese, and that was a
Tory out of office.

Fairbank's personal victory in the election of 1882 was doubly
significant in the light of the political issues involved.  The great
issue of the campaign was Macdonald's National Policy, and its coro-
llary, protective tariffs. 17  The life of Canada's oil industry, to-
gether with the economy of East Lambton, depended entirely upon the
maintenance of a high duty against American oil. 18 .  For this reason
the oil district was mainly Conservative.  The Liberals, on the other
hand, were committed to low tariffs and a laissez-faire economic policy,
at least in theory. 19.  Fairbank, as a Liberal, and a leader of the oil
industry, was trying to reconcile contradictory policies, according to
his opponents, who gleefully made the most of his apparent predicament.
Mr. Fairbank has done what Mr. Lister has had sense enough
to avoid doing - he has put himself squarely on record as
in favour of absolute Free Trade.  That is, in everything
but oil.  When Mr. Fairbank talks oil in Petrolia, he is a
ver-y good protectionist; when he gets twenty miles from
home, beyond the disturbing influence of the oil trade and
the oil men's votes, he is a Free Trader after Bastiat's own
heart ... The sum of the whole matter ... is that the po-
sition of the candidate who appeals for the support of the
  oil interest of Lambton on a Free Trade platform is so utter-
ly illogical and untenable, that it only needs to be stated
in plain English for its absurdity to be made clear. 20 .
17. Sarnia Observer, 2 June 1882; Petrolia Advertiser, 9 June 1882.
18. Petrolia Advertiser, 9 June 1882.  The tariff issue occupied as
much as half of the total newspaper coverage of the East Lambton
19. Creighton, op.cit., p. 337-8, and Thomson, op.cit., p. 372-77,
describe the difficulties experienced by Blake and the Liberals
over their tariff policies.
20. Petrolia Advertiser, 16 June 1882; quoting from the Sarnia
Canadian; Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), a French political
economist, legislator, and writer, "was an influential opponent
of the protective system and of socialism".  (New Century
Cyclopedia of Names, New York, 1954, v.l. p. 382.)

Fairbank countered these objections, which he had foreseen, by reminding
the voters that the previous Liberal government, given the occasion to
change the high protective duty on oil, had confirmed it in principle. 21
Fairbank pointed out that the present tariff was seriously defective in
many qualities.  He said the proper line for this country was between a
moderate and an extreme tariff.  He quoted the words of Hon. Alex.
Mackenzie, "No honest statesman can disregard industries already
established." 22
In typical laissez-faire fashion, Fairbank disposed of the National,
Policy.  John A. Mackenzie, criticizing the previous Liberal administra-
tion for not trying to relieve the depression by legislative means, said,
"The present government ... gave us protection called the National Policy,
and immediately there was a revival in trade; confidence was restored. 23.
Fairbank, on the other hand, scoffed at government intervention in the
The increase of our exports in 1881 over 1879 from ... the farm
and the forest was $32,000,000.  This has largely increased our
purchasing power and benefitted business generally.  When the
Government claims that to it (the Government) is due credit for
the improvement of the times, it simply offers an insult to your
intelligence. 24...  All men who had studied the question, knew
that these depressions occur periodically and that they were
totally out of reach of government.  When a government has
21. Fairbank promised East Lambton that he would "resist to the uttermost
any attacks on our established business rights: rights which were con-
firmed to us by the Mackenzie Government six years ago in spite of
strong opposition".  (Petrolia Advertiser, 9 June 1882)
Fairbank must have been referring to the protective duty on crude oil,
which the Mackenzie government had maintained at 6 cents per gallon
in 1877, although it had reduced the duty on refined oil to 6 cents
from 15 cents.  (Canada. Statutes, 1877, 40 Vic. c.11, 3.2).  In
1879 the Conservative government maintained the duty on oil at the
same level in the protective tariff in the National Policy.  (Canada,
Statutes, 1879, 42 Vie., c. 15, Schedule "A")  The duty of 7 1/5
cents per imperial gallon in this act was the same as 6 cents per
wine gallon in the previous act.
22. London Advertiser, 24 May 1882; confirmed in Thomson, op.cit.,
p. 372.
23. Petrolia Advertiser, 9 June 1882, "To the Electors of the East
Riding of Lambton".
24. J.H. Fairbank, "To the Electors of East Lambton", in Petrolia
Advertiser, 9 June 1882.

provided for maintaining order, and for carrying on works of
too great magnitude for private enterprise, if hc's exhausted
its ability to deal satisfactorily with internal affairs.25
The candidates waged a warm battle over subsidiary issues of the
campaign.  Fairbank attacked Sir John A. Macdonald for his admitted
gerrymandering, which had caused the creation of the East Lambton riding;
Mackenzie countered by accusing Oliver Mowat, the Liberal Premier of On-
tario, of the same tactics.  Mackenzie supported his party's Canadian
Pacific Railway policy, while Fairbank condemned the government for
setting up this monopoly and then handing it over to a group of American
capitalists, when, he said, the contract could have been let on better
terms to Canadians.  Fairbank claimed, and Mackenzie denied, that On-
tario's rights had been infringed when its Streams and Waterways Act
had been disallowed, and the Manitoba boundary award, favourable to
Ontario, had been rejected by the federal government. 26   Fairbank
appealed to the temperance cause in Lambton for support as a fellow-
worker.  Knowing that the temperance vote was largely Liberal, the
Conservatives tried to split the Liberal vote by encouraging temper-
ance men to run their own third candidates in the election. 27
The political issues of the day, important as they were, took
second place in East Lambton to the debate over the fitness of the
candidates to represent their electorate.  Fairbank, conceded a Con-
servative newspaper, was "a very popular man in the oil regions." 28
The Liberal papers sung his praises eloquently.
Few gentlemen who have been long associated with the trade
in this district but can recall some pleasing remembrances
of his business contact with John H. Fairbank.” 29
Mr. Fairbank ... has been a resident of Canada for about
thirty years; he has discharged all the duties of citizen-
ship during that time in a manner that has commanded the
respect of all who know him; he has filled public offices
25 Watford Advocate-Adviser, 26 May 1882.
26 The Sarnia Observer, 2 June 1882, carried a lengthy report on the
Fairbank-Mackenzie debates.  See Creighton, op.cit. , Vol.11, pp.
379, 388-9 regarding these issues.
27 Ibid.
28 London Free Press, 21 June 1882.
29 Petrolea Topic clipping; date unknown (Fairbank scrapbooks).

of trust to the satisfaction of everybody, and as a business
man has proved himself far-seeing and successful.  As one of
the pioneers in the oil industry in Lambton and an extensive
operator, he has done more to develop the resources of this
county and to build up thriving towns and villages, where but
a few years ago the country was a tangled network of forest and
swamp, than any half-dozen of those who endeavor to scoff him
down as an alien. 30
Even Fairbank's business success came under attack.  While a Liberal
paper observed, "Fairbank is a practical business man and has made a fortune
in our own county in the last thirty years," 31   opposition papers linked
his wealth to monopoly.
Mr. Fairbank has grown rich by a monopoly which is protected to
.the extent of over 500 percent ... When Mr. Lister wants to find
a man who has reaped a princely fortune at the expense of the
great mass of consumers, against whom to bring his crusade, where
will he find one who more aptly answers his description than his
colleague, the Reform Candidate for East Lambton, Mr. John H. Fairbank?" 32
Whatever their opinions at election time, the voters of East Lambton had no
intention of faulting Fairbank for his wealth; most of them were engaged in
a mad scramble for money and envied his success.
By way of contrast to Fairbank, whose wealth was all invested locally,
John A. Mackenzie was pictured as the representative of a town (Sarnia)
whose businessmen sought to wrest the refining trade away from Petrolia.
The great objection always offered to imported candidates in their
want of personal interest in the welfare of the constituency and
their would-be constituents.  The candidature of John A. Mackenzie
is doubly objectionable to the people of Petrolia.  He is not only
an imported candidate, but is a prominent citizen of a town which
makes no secret of its opposition to the progress of this Corpor-
ation.  Think of it, business men, before you vote. 33
... Petrolia is solicited to ... assist in voting John A. Mackenzie
into a position where he will have increased opportunities to gratify
the grasping proclivities of his fellow-townsmen in Sarnia.  Mer-
chants and businessmen ... can you afford to give your support to a
candidate whose interests are identical with a people avowedly your
business rivals, and who, if not hostile to your prosperity, is at
least indifferent to it? ...
30. Sarnia Observer, 9 June 1882.
3l. Watford Advocate -Adviser, 16 June 1882.
32. Petrolia Advertiser, 16 June 1882.
33. Petrolea Topic, 15 June 1882.

In voting for Mr. John H. Fairbank you drop your ballot for
a man largely interested like yourselves in the town, and
the whole weight of whose influence would be given to ensure
your, individual and collective welfare, because it would at
the same time advance his own. 34
As if to give credence to his alleged indifference to the aspir-
ations of East Lambton, Mackenzie "told the electors ... that for the
past twenty years he had been kept in the County by the hope that 'some-
thing would turn up' in the oil business for his benefit." 35 The Petrolea
Topic capitalized on this remark, pressing its attack with evident relish:
When Mackenzie foolishly admitted this to the electors of
the oil district he virtually sealed his political doom.
The people who wait in this region of active enterprise
invariably get left ... 36 while he has been standing
around, hands in pockets, idly waiting for something to
turn up, John H. Fairbank has laid off his coat and turned
the "something" up for himself.  This is just the glaring
difference between the two men, and as it has been at home
so it would be in Parliament.  Mackenzie would wait for
favorable opportunities to turn up to advance the interest
of his constituents, while Mr. Fairbank, with the levers of
his intelligence, industry, and energy, would turn up the
opportunities, and make them redound to your advantage. 37
While Fairbank and Mackenzie refrained from personal attacks on each
other, their ardent followers were less careful about avoiding putting slan-
derous reports into circulation.  The Petrolia Advertiser, a Conservative
paper, felt called upon to protest such tactics, especially those by some
members of its own party.
We would ask our readers of both political stripes - but
more particularly our Conservative friends - to bear in
mind that the present struggle is essentially and above
all a struggle of rival modes of policy ... Anything even
remotely provocative of personalities should be avoided ...
Let nothing be said, even in the heat of personal effort,
which would leave a sting  behind, after the battle is
irrevocably decided.  We are exceedingly sorry to learn
that there are serious and extremely false statements
34. Ibid.
35. Watford Advocate-Adviser, 16 June 1882.
36. Petrolea Topic, 22 June 1882.
37. Watford Advocate-Adviser, 16 June 1882.

arising amongst both the Conservative and Reform parties
with regard to the personal and private character of
the candidates - Messrs. Fairbank and Mackenzie ... While
we have contended ... for the triumph of our cause ... we
deprecate and denounce the exhibition of unnecessary acrimony
among friends and neighbors.  Our Reform friends are
entitled to our respect as fellow-citizens, and we trust
that the controversy between us will be so conducted
that we may remain in friendly unison, before, during,
and after the close of the battle. 38
The Liberal papers took particular notice of Conservatives who had branded
Fairbank a "Yankee Oil Speculator." 39  One rushed into battle: The raising
of the "Yankee" cry against Mr. Fairbank in the East, by Mr. John A.
Mackenzie and his friends, is one of the pettiest and most despicable
expedients that could be resorted to in order to damage an opponent.
Those who use it must be in desperate straits for a ground for attack
against the Liberal candidate when they are forced to take it up. 40
A second paper counseled moderation:
The Sarnia Observer and London Advertiser are troubled
lest the insinuation regarding Mr. Fairbank's nationality                   
will injure him before the electors.  They may as well
spare themselves the effort and space.  The electors of
East Lambton are too intelligent to be affected by any
such cry, ... The electors of East Lambton know that
Mr. Fairbank has been a citizen of the riding for nearly
thirty years, that all his wealth is invested in local
industries and institutions, that he is an enterprising.
progressive, and successful business man, that he is a
liberal, charitable, and moral gentleman, and that he
has for years taken an active part in political matters,
We can well afford to naturalize any number of "Yankees"
of Mr. Fairbank's stamp.  Our arms are open to them, and
when they have put in a thirty years apprenticeship, and
proved themselves worthy of the place, we will make
legislators of them in preference to borrowing from
another county.  Sarnia cliques and rings have run this
county long enough on both sides, and there has long been
a desire to shake off their dominance. 41
38. ”How to conduct the election," in the Petrolia Advertiser. 9 June 1882.
39. Quoted from the Watford Guide-News in the Petrolea Topic. 22 June 1882.
40. ”A mean cry," in Sarnia Observer, 9 June 1882.
41. Watford Advocate-Adviser, 16 June 1882.

On election day, 20 June 1882, Fairbank turned a Conservative
majority of 86 in his riding at the previous election (1878) into a
Liberal majority of 165. 42  The Liberals scored substantial gains in
every part of the riding, despite the fact that only Petrolia and the
rural municipalities farthest from the town actually yielded majorities
for Fairbank.  Great was the rejoicing that Fairbank's victory brought.
The returns from the two ridings of Lambton were re-
ceived at the Reform Committee Rooms on Tuesday night
with creditable promptitude, and as they continued to
tell the story of vastly increased majorities in the
West and of a sweeping triumph in the East the cheers
of the hundreds assembled were deafening ... The news
of Mr. Fairbank's success brought out such vociferous
cheering as has seldom been heard in Sarnia.  The
Reformers in this town, and of the West Riding generally,
took a deep interest in the result in the East and
contributed largely by their personal efforts to make
the return of the Liberal candidate secure.  Mr. Fairbanks
election for a constituency that was especially cut
out for a Tory preserve was therefore doubly gratifying. 43
Fairbank's brilliant personal victory in 1882 was destined to be
his last, for during the elections that followed. East Lambton usually
returned a Conservative to the House of Commons. 44  John A. Mackenzie,
the defeated candidate, retired from politics and was later rewarded
with the Junior Judgeship of Lambton County. 45
42. Petrolia Advertiser, 30 June 1882.  The Canadian Parliamentary
Guide, 1885, p. 179, gave the following result:  Fairbank, 1734;
Mackenzie, 1569; Fairbank's majority, 165.
43. Lambton's Double Header," unidentified clipping in the Fairbank
44. Until 1921, Lambton East only returned one Liberal member besides
Fairbank.  In 1896, the year of Laurier's great sweep, John
Fraser was elected by the slim majority of 14.  (Canadian Parlia-
mentary Guide, 1930, p. 259)
45. Mackenzie's appointment took effect on 26 September 1885.  John A,
Huey, The wardens, councillors, parliamentary representatives ...
Of the county of Lambton . . . (Sarnia, 1950), p. 85.

On the national scene the Liberal party had again lost the election,
They sought to- embarrass the victorious Conservatives by ferreting out
evidence of electoral corruption.  On 28 June, Edward Blake, the party
leader, addressed a confidential circular to local leaders urging them
to prosecute bribery, illegal voting, or partisan tactics of returning 
officers.  He also requested the reasons for the local outcome of the
election. 46. Since they had won, the East Lambton Reformers apparently
made no complaints regarding voting or officials.  They attributed
their success to their Fairbank's ability to hold the party vote and
win over some Conservative or uncommitted voters,.and to their
speakers and debaters, who evidently outshone the Conservative re-
presentatives on nearly every occasion. 47
J. H. Fairbank in parliament.
Throughout the latter part of the year 1882 Fairbank probably
devoted a good deal of his time studying the political situation and
learning of his duties as a Member of Parliament.  As an Opposition
member he appears to have been largely free of the demands for patronage
which were imposed upon members of the governing party. 48 In October              _
he headed a delegation of Lambton Reformers who visited Alexander
Mackenzie at his home in Toronto and presented the gift of $5,5000
mentioned earlier. 49  Mackenzie was delighted with the success of his
political heirs, Fairbank and Lister, whose progress he followed with
keen interest.
The first session of the new parliament met on Thursday, 8
February 1883 and continued for four months. 50   Fairbank attended
conscientiously as the flow of his business and personal correspondence
46. Edward Blake to J. H. F., 28 June 1882 (Fairbank Papers)
47. Thomas Fawcett to Edward Blake, 17 August 1882.  (Copy in Fair-
bank Papers)
48. Although Fairbank was under heavy obligation to many supporters,
no examples of actual requests for government jobs have survived
in his papers.  Such patronage was simply not within his gift.
Any relief had to be provided from his own means.
49. Thomson, op.cit,.,, p. 375.
50. Canada.  Parliament.  House of Commons.  Debates, 1883.

indicates; indeed, he missed only nine days during the session. 51  Other
political duties sometimes called him away from the capital.  He
campaigned for Peter Graham, the provincial Reform candidate, who was
successfully re-elected on 27 February 1883 in the same East Lambton
riding.  Fairbank's support, appreciated though it was by Graham,
probably was not really necessary .52
51. Fairbank's sessional allowance was $928 ($1,000, less 9 days
missed @$8).  He received travelling expenses of $91,80, a total
of $1,019,80.  (Memo of account. Accountant's Office, House of
Commons, with J. H. F., 29 May 1883; Fairbank Papers)
The Watford Guide-News, a strong Conservative supporter, criticized
  Fairbank when he came home from Parliament to assist in the
provincial election .  "Mr. Fairbank was next called upon and
seemed rather an object of pity as he essayed to apologize for
his absence at Ottawa.  He informed the people that $8 per day
would be deducted from his indemnity for every day he was
absent.  Mr. Shirley followed, and showed the meeting that even
if $8 per day was deducted on account, of absence, that Mr. Fair-
bank was still the gainer by $10 per day, and that for no
services rendered."  (23 Feb. 1883)
52. The Sarnia Observer, February 1883, carried an account of Fair-
bank's speech in Sarnia on behalf of Hon. Timothy Blair Pardee,
Ontario's Minister of Crown Lands, and M. L. A, for West Lambton.
(Fairbank scrapbooks).  In his witty speech, which was inter-
spersed with "laughter ... renewed laughter ... uproarious
laughter and cheers"  (Ibid.) Fairbank warmly approved of
Oliver Mowat's stand on provincial rights.  From this and other
speeches, and letters, it is evident that Fairbank maintained
very cordial relations with the Provincial Liberals.  Pardee had
spoken for Fairbank at Alvinston on 7 June 1882 in his own campaign.
(London Advertiser, 10 June 1882)
In connection with Fairbank's work in East Lambton for
Peter Graham, the Sarnia Observer (2 March 1883) said, "Mr. Fair-
bank, M.P., did good work in East Lambton in support of Mr.
Graham, and has the satisfaction of returning to Ottawa with the
knowledge that the Liberal majority in the East has been sub-
stantially increased."  The Petrolia Advertiser (9 March 1883)
countered by claiming that, on the contrary, the Conservatives had
increased their majority in the centers where Fairbank had spoken,
namely, Alvinston, Watford, Wyoming, and Petrolia.  "He felt
compelled to do his best work in Petrolia the Saturday previous to
the election.  In June Mr. Fairbank got 61 majority in Petrolia;
this time Mr. Watson, the Conservative candidate [Petrolia was In
West Lambton, provincially] got 6 majority.  This was mighty good
work - for us . . ,  For pure and unadulterated soft-soap give us the
Sarnia Observer. It takes the cake."

East Lambton was one of those ridings which have presented a peculiar
enigma to students of Ontario's history, voting Liberal provincially
and Conservative federally, for, Fairbank's success notwithstanding,
the riding later remained fairly loyal to the Conservative party on
the federal scene.  In provincial elections, however, it unfailingly
returned a Liberal.  Except in isolated instances, such as Fairbank's
election, the major parties were unable to unite loyalties on both
the federal and provincial level in East Lambton.
While Fairbank's career in parliament was of only minor import-
ance in the political history of Canada, it was significant in the
context of his business and public career.  The events in Fairbank's
parliamentary life were similar to his election itself; he addressed
himself to the problems or questions at hand, dealing with them on
their merit as they arose, rather than making each situation a step
in the path of ambition.  In short, Fairbank remained a professional in
business and a gifted amateur in politics.
As an Opposition backbencher Fairbank adhered faithfully to the
party line in matters of policy and confined his original remarks to
technical questions in which he had a special interest.  His speeches
were factual and well documented.  He delivered the first on 13 March          
1883. 53  Sir Leonard Tilley, Conservative Minister of Finance, had
moved the second reading of a bill to amend the Canadian banking laws.
One of the bill's provisions would have made it illegal for private
bankers to continue to use names such as "Banking Office," "Banking
House," and "Banking Company," a practice which tended to give the
impression that they were incorporated bodies rather than partnerships
or individual proprietorships, and therefore subject to official in-
spection and approval.  Fairbank argued that to deprive certain bankers
of the use of their traditional names was to confiscate part of their
property without any compensation.  His contention was taken up by
other members of the Liberal party, including Edward Blake. 54    The
Liberals supported the cause of the ordinary citizen against large
financial monopolies.  In this connection they manifested concern
for the welfare of the private bankers, who, they maintained, per-
formed a valuable service for the country which the chartered banks
could not or would not provide.  The Opposition prevailed upon Tilley
to allow private banks to continue to use the names by which they were
then known, if they added the words "Not Incorporated." 55 .  Fairbank
was given the credit for this change in the government-sponsored bill. 56.
53. Canada. Parliament. House of Commons.  Debates, 13 March 1883.
54. Ibid., 23 March 1883.
55. Ibid., 20 March 1883.
56. London Advertiser, 21 March 1883.

Alexander Mackenzie commented, "Well, young man, you have achieved a parl-
iamentary victory very early in your career." 57
When some measure of particular interest to him was before the
House of Commons, Fairbank often wrote to his business associates or con-
stituents for their opinions, which he studied when preparing his own re-
marks to the House.  When a bill to establish a Court of Railway Commission-
ers came up, Fairbank's correspondence revealed great dissatisfaction on the
part of businessmen with some of the methods of the railways which they con-
   sidered to be arbitrary and unjust. 58   In their privileged position the rail-
ways granted rebates to favoured customers and manipulated rates and services
without regard to the welfare of commerce.  Fairbank joined his fellow Lib-
erals in attacking rebates in the House of Commons and urged upon parliament
the need to compel the carriers, especially the Grand Trunk Railway, to give
priority to Canadian traffic.  Up to this time the carriers had tended to
use their facilities to compete with American lines on the freight business
between the American West and the Atlantic Coast. 59
57. Memorandum made by Major C.O. Fairbank of a conversation with
J.H. Fairbank, 26 January 1913.
58."Yours [of the] 5th to hand [re] Railway Commission bill ... I do
consider that we have suffered from Railway discriminations. ...
Regarding oil.  Some years ago we shipped a car crude to London
for which we were charged $24.  At the same time the London
0il & Refining Co, were getting it at $8 a car 6 the Railway Co.
"refused to reduce.  The discrimination in favor of certain firms
by G.T. and G.W. Rys. can be proved to have existed last year.
What the present status I do not know."
"The fact is that the Great Western Railway in everything favored
the Imperial [Oil] Co. as against all competitors.  Had other
refineries not been available, the district here by the action of
this Railway would have been virtually given in fee simple to
Imperial [Oil] Co."  (Charles Jenkins, President, Petrolia Crude
Oil 6 Tanking Co. to J. H. F., 7 April 1883; Fairbank Papers).
Other eloquent letters came from Montague Smith, Banker, of Forest,
6 April 1883; Charles Jenkins, Petrolia, 9 April (a second letter);
M. S. Campbell, Banker, of Watford, 5 April, and Alexander Laing,
Merchant, of Wyoming, 12 April.  N. G. Dickinson of the Petrolia-
based firm of John McMillan, Refiners, actually feared reprisals
from the Grand Trunk Railway for telling Fairbank of their activi-
ties.  He wrote, "you can readily understand that it would do me
no end of injury to have even the least suspicion that your
information comes even from Montreal."  (Dickinson to J. H. F.,
Montreal, 9 April 1883.  All letters are in the Fairbank Papers)
59. Canada.  Parliament.  House of Commons.  Debates, 11 April 1883.

As a Member of Parliament, Fairbank received many requests from
his constituents to employ his influence at the capital on their behalf,
He was able to satisfy them even though he was a supporter of the Oppo-
sition rather than the Government.  Two examples will suffice.  Fairbank
interceded with the Department of Militia to allow the citizens of Wat-
ford to appropriate a little-used drill shed as an exhibition hall for
their fairground. 60  Local Liberals rejoiced because Fairbank had been
able to extract a favour from the Government which the town's Conserva-
tives had never been able to obtain. 61 Fairbank probably counted on this
success in obtaining this concession to win over some more supporters
in Watford, which had returned a majority against him in the election
of 1882.  For the thriving village of Weidmann, eight miles from Petrolia,
Fairbank secured a post office at the urging of the Weidmann Brothers,
whose lumber mills employed most of the residents. 62 The Member for
East Lambton hoped by his success to secure a goodly number of Liberal
votes at a future election.
In the fall of 1883 local political affairs made time-consuming
demands upon Fairbank.  He was asked to reorganize the Liberals in
neighbouring Kent County, where the taste of continual defeat had wasted
away Reform support. 63  He also gave generously of his time to the West
Middlesex constituency, which adjoined East Lambton.  By-elections for
both federal and provincial parliaments had been scheduled for 14 Decem-        
ber 1883, as the results of the previous general elections had been
voided by the courts. 64
60. M.S. Campbell to J.H.F., Watford, 24 April, 5 May, and 15
October 1883.  The last letter advised that the consent of
the Minister of Militia had been communicated to the
Municipal Council.  (Fairbank Papers)
61. Hugh McKenzie to J.H.F., Warwick, 22 May 1883 (Fairbank Papers)
McKenzie, President of the East Lambton Reform Association,
corresponded frequently with Fairbank.
62. Weidmann Brothers to J.H.F., Inwood, Ont., 20, .35 Sept. 1883.
63. Since Confederation the Kent riding had returned a Conservative.
A by-election scheduled for 9 January 1884 was probably the reason
for Fairbank's interest in Kent.  Despite the efforts of the
Liberals in 1883, they did not win Kent until 1887, when, however,
they kept it until 1900.  (Canadian Parliamentary Guide. 1930,
p. 259)  Benjamin Alien, Liberal M.P. for north Grey, wrote from
Owen Sound on 14 September 1883 to request Fairbank's assistance.
(Fairbank Papers)
64. Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1886, pp. 181, 221.

According to Timothy Blair Pardee, Ontario's Minister of Crown Lands
and West Lambton's member in Toronto, the Conservative party was
determined to win the provincial election in West Middlesex." 65
I saw Blake yesterday and he promised to write you
in reference to West Middlesex.  You have got to pull
off your coat and go in and help us carry this con-
stituency.  The Dominion government are determined, if
possible, to beat [George W.] Ross.  They do not care
very much about the Dominion candidate [D.M. Cameron]
but they have brought on their own election on the same
day in order that they may ostensibly spend money to
carry their own man, while it is really expended for
the purpose of defeating Ross.  You are a great
organizer, and can be a power to us.  You will go to
work, and I am sure you will give up ten days or so.
What is really required is the tactics you employed
in East Lambton.  We want a man on every concession
line, the same as you had in Brooke. 66
Pardee had evidently forgotten that Fairbank's men on every concession
line in Brooke had failed to win that township for him the year before.
65. Perhaps they were seeking revenge.  George W. Ross had won the federal
contest, only to see the election voided.  Instead of running for the
House of Commons, he took the place of the defeated Liberal candidate
for the Ontario Legislature, J. Watterworth, who had successfully
unseated the victorious Conservative, Alex Johnston - Ross defeated
Johnston at the by-election, while D. M. Cameron, Warden of Middle-
sex County, held Ross's former seat in the House of Commons for the
Liberals.  Ross appeared to be a winning candidate in whichever
field he ran.
66. Timothy Blair Pardee to J. H. F., Toronto, 20 November 1883;
Edward Blake to J. H. F., Toronto, 29 November 1883 (Fairbank
Papers).  George W. Ross eventually became Premier of Ontario,
while Cameron  became Sheriff of Middlesex County.  Ross was
obviously a much greater threat to Conservative hopes than
Cameron, even in 1883.  Cameron later wrote to Fairbank, "I
desire to thank you sincerely for your very active and successful
efforts on Mr. Ross's behalf and my own in the late contest ..."
(D. M. Cameron to J. H. F., Strathroy, 25 December 1883; Fairbank

The West Middlesex election gave Fairbank first-hand experience
with electoral corruption.  The Conservative candidate for the Ontario
Legislature, Alexander Johnston, who had already brought on the by-
election by his tactics in the previous general election, tried to buy
votes in Caradoc Township through two agents, James A. McLean and James
Weekes. 67  The latter accidentally betrayed their plans to the Liberal
headquarters in Strathroy.  Aided by this disclosure, which was widely
publicized, by the Liberals  George W. Ross won his election.  Not
content with this victory only, the Liberals tried to secure a criminal
conviction against Weekes for his part in the scandal.  In the words
of Fairbank,
I think our policy should be to pinch Weekes until he
opens his mouth wide, then let up on him and go after
his masters.  I would also favour prosecuting McLean.
We want the best and most pushing legal advisers in
this case.  I feel very strongly in this matter,
thinking much responsibility rests upon us and wish
to be "considered in" in doing all necessary acts and
doing them thoroughly. 68
J. F. Lister, Liberal M.P. for West Lambton, represented his party at            
the trial.  Despite the efforts of Fairbank, Lister, Ross, and the
Middlesex Liberals, Weekes went free on a technicality, although the
Liberals secured a resounding moral victory. 69
The Parliamentary session of 1884, which lasted from 17 January
to 11 March, provided the occasion for Fairbank's first major speech
in the House of Commons.  On 12 February he spoke for about half an
hour, criticizing the government's open-handed policy towards the
Canadian Pacific Railway.  His discourse, liberally interspersed with
detailed figures of money and witty figures of speech, ended with
these words:
67. Factual information on the Weekes case has been taken from contemp-
orary clippings in the Fairbank Papers, mainly from the London
Advertiser and London Free Press.
68. J. H. Fairbank to D. M. Cameron and G. W. Ross, 24 December 1883
(copy in Fairbank Papers).
69. The West Middlesex election case was duly entered in the catalogue
of the sins of the Conservatives and circulated as Liberal campaign
literature for many years.  It was included in A Partial History of
the Corruption and Electoral Frauds of the Tory Party in Canada;
Whitney’s Legislative Record (Toronto? ca.1900), pp. 7-8.
'(copy in Fairbank Papers).  This pamphlet included cases as far
back as 1858.

So, at the conclusion, the Company will have a finished
road and over 21,000,000 acres of land, not a dollar of
money having been furnished by them, and with $5,000,000
in spending money.  Mr. Speaker, if we are to furnish
all the money, what is the good of the company?  Will
this money come back to us?  Experience says, no.  By
entering into this agreement, I fear the Government
are forming a dangerous alliance; I fear that we are
drifting into the position of having the Hon. Minister,
King, and the Railway Company, viceroy over him [us?]
Mr. Speaker, I must thank the house for the attention
with which it has listened to my remarks. 70
The Pacific Railway was a subject to which Fairbank returned with relish
on various occasions, inside and outside the House of Commons.
While the Liberal newspaper loyally supplied Fairbank and
printed his utterances practically verbatim, nib home-spun rhetoric
did not find universal acceptance, particularly in areas where the
Canadian Pacific Railway enjoyed strong support.  In September 1884
Fairbank accompanied Alexander Mackenzie and other prominent Liberals
on a trip west. 71  An unidentified writer in a Winnipeg newspaper
took offence at Fairbank's speeches on this occasion.
The Little Joker
To the Editor of the Times:
Sir   In his speech  last night at the Mackenzie
reception, Mr. Fairbanks, M.P. for some county or part of
a county in Ontario, accused the press here of persistently
calling him a joker.  I think the press must have been
indulging in gratuitous hyperbole to have bestowed upon
him so dignified an appellation. It is true he apes the
role; it is also true that he is possessed of all the
attributes of a clown, except that of being "funny," but
as that happens to be the chief qualification in the
calling of a buffoon, its want is a somewhat serious
delicacy [deficiency?]  But Mr. Fairbanks need not despair.
We have a local professor of the art and I have no doubt
that for a consideration Richard Burden, Esq., will give
such instructions as will develop the Ontario mountebank
into a really accomplished buff on ...
Whatever be the opinions entertained of Mr. Mackenzie's
policy to this country, he is a man of unblemished integrity
and sterling common sense.  God wot, I wish he could impart
70. Canada.  Parliament.  House of Commons.  Debates, 12 February
71. The trip is described in Thomson, op.cit., pp. 379-81.

a little of the latter to his followers.  When Ontario has
men of his mark to send here we shall always accord them a
generous welcome; but when she has only clowns and mounte-
banks to send, we do not want our intelligence insulted by
having them palmed off on us as "men of light and leading."
Yours, etc.  Logeirait. 72
Fairbank soon learned to expect public comment of this kind as a
concomitant of political life.  As a man of affairs, he was accustomed
to criticism.  Even so, he could not help but contrast, the slashing,
devastating nature of political discussion with the debates which often
attended business negotiations: the latter, while they might be vigor-
ous enough, were at least amenable to reason.  Fairbank filed the Winni-
peg comment among his political papers with the succinct marginal annota-
tion, "Nasty."
The longest session - 1885.
After Fairbanks' western visit in the fall of 1884, the four months
at home before the next session sped quickly by, filled with the cares of
business.  Finally, late in January 1885, the legislator placed his affairs
in the hands of his son Charles and returned to the capital.  Here in the
course of a single session Fairbank would experience both extremes of
Ottawa's harsh climate - the bone-chilling cold of mid-winter and the
suffocating heat of summer.  The parliamentary session of 1885, lasting
from 29 January to 20 July, was the longest which the members had ever
endured up to that time.  Early in the year Fairbank listened much but
spoke little.  His few remarks concerning temperance, banking, and the
administration of justice, were either questions or short comments, ex-
citing nothing of a controversial nature. "73 Later in the session Fairbank
took part in an exhausting struggle whereby the Liberals hoped to block
an important bill in the legislative program of the Conservative govern-
ment.  On 16 April 1885, Sir John A. Macdonald moved second reading of a
bill entitled "An Act Respecting the Electoral Franchise." 74 . These few
words masked a political controversy of the first magnitude.
The question involved in this measure was ... whether the Dominion
Parliament should take to itself the power conferred upon it by
the British North American act to regulate The qualifications
72. Winnipeg Daily Times, 3 September 1884, p. 1.
73. Canada..  Parliament.  House of Commons.  Debates, 1885, various
74. Ibid., 16 April 188b, p. 1133.  Debate started on the second
reading of bills.

of voters, or leave it in the hands of the provinces as had
been the case since Confederation ... It was mainly to the
debate of the bill that the inordinate length of the Session
was due, and it may be that the uncompromising opposition to
the bill has emphasized the cleavage in the views of the two
great political parties as to the line of demarcation between
Federal authority and Provincial prerogative. 75
In addition to assuring federal control over the right to vote, the
Franchise Bill also confirmed the hold of the government, and therefore
the party in power, over the electoral machinery.  Canada's Indian popu-
lation, which the Liberals believed particularly susceptible to Conserva-
tive influence, were to be enfranchised; the party in power gained the
right to appoint local revising officers throughout the country to pre-
pare the voters' lists.  Believing their life as a political party
seriously threatened if the proposed Act were to become law, the Liberals
fought the Franchise Bill with every measure at their command.  Sir John
A. Macdonald, in the midst of his other problems of keeping the country
united and solvent, was forced to admit that the Opposition party was
giving him "the most harassing and disagreeable session I have witnessed
in forty years." 76
In the House of Commons the Liberals organized a filibuster to de-
lay the Franchise Bill as long as possible.  They forced the House to ex-
tend its hours, sitting around the clock in a test of will between the
two parties.  Despite their increasing weariness the Liberals fought on
with great zest, as reported by Fairbank.
This is a welcome Sunday.  The past was a parliamentary week
to be remembered by members present ... 57 hours with 4 1/2
hours out ... This is much the longest Parliamentary session
in Canada or England.  Not an inch was made by the govern-
ment during the 57 hours, opposition members speaking more
than 9/10 of the time.  It was a hard siege but our boys
"stood to their guns" like battle men.  We were divided into
three divisions, each division taking special charge of its
part of the time and receiving; aid from others, Cartwright
Mills, and Cameron being ''division commanders." 77
75. Henry J. Morgan, ed., The Dominion Annual Register and Review...
for 1886 (Montreal, 1887), p. 54-5.  The battle for the Fran-
chise Act is described in Creighton, op.cit., pp. 407-8; 426-7.
76. Creighton, op.cit., p. 426.
77. Richard J. Cartwright (later Sir Richard; 1835-1912) was the
member for South Huron; Malcolm C. Cameron (1832-1898) was the
member for West Huron, and David Mills, (1831-1903) was the
member for Bothwell.  All three were among the most prominent
Liberals of their time.

We asked frequently for adjournment which was steadily refused,
and as time went on our fellows gained instead of losing in grit.
At 10 p.m. Saturday night the Tories began to talk and intended
to end it with a flourish by Sir John (who was seldom in his
seat) but Blake got in on him about 6 minutes to 12 and slung
his grape and canister into him at a terrible rate, knocking
his assertions into a cocked hat ... At 12 ... the thing ended
by the committee [of the whole] "rising reporting progress,
etc.," but not an inch of progress was made and our side is
well satisfied with the conclusion of the hard week.
Now you will ask how I have stood it.  Exceedingly well.  I did
not remain until after 3 a.m. except on Saturday morning when
our "division" was going on at 2 a.m., so Friday night at 10 I
went to my rooms and slept to 1:30.  My turn in the trenches
came at 2:30.  I had nearly recovered from a sore throat.  Cart-
wright wanted to know how long I could run.  I told him if my
throat stood I could run about one hour.  He said, "good."  So
I "sailed in" taking great care of my voice and at the end of 2
hours with better voice than I started, told the committee that
"as others were very anxious to speak I would defer further re-
marks to another time."  We cared very little what we said.                   -.
Many do considerable reading.  I used no books, but no doubt
talked any quantity of nonsense.  Hansard will immensely con-
dense these night debates, which is greatly in our favor.
I know not the end, but the country cannot say we are not giving
them due notice of the character of the measure by the fight we
are making.  Blake did not think we could do it.  Am convinced
he is as proud of the staying qualities of his band as they are
proud of their leader.  The fight developed many a plucky fellow
on the rear benches.  There was not one I think favoring a
surrender ... Goodness knows when I shall be home. 78
Nearly thirty years later Fairbank clearly recalled the filibuster as one of
the highlights of his career. 79  For two months the battle dragged on & on
June 10, Fairbank advised his son, "Franchise Bill through Committee.
Considerable fun last two nights." 80
78. J.H.F. to Charles 0. Fairbank, 3 April [i.e. May] 1885 (Fairbank Papers)
Fairbank's two-hour speech was condensed by Hansard into slightly over
one folio page (1885, pp. 1531-2).  At page 1535, when the presence of
a quorum (20 members) was questioned, it was reported that 24 were on
79. Memorandum made by Major C.O. Fairbank of conversation with J.H. Fairbank,
18 March 1913.
80. J.H.F. to Charles 0. Fairbank, 10 June 1885 (Fairbank Papers)

While Fairbank; by his own admission, talked "nonsense," a reporter
whose task it was to sift the torrent of words allowed his mind to stray in
a poetic mood.
While Mr. Fairbank was speaking the daylight began to struggle
through the darkness and to look down pale and grey -through
the frosted glass roof of the Chamber, and to beat up against
the stained-glass windows on either side.  At last it contended
with the flaring gaslight for supremacy, reminding one of the
mechanic going to work while belated revellers are rolling home.
At last the gas was put out and daylight filled the Chamber.  It
revealed what daylight had never seen before: the House of Comm-
ons of Canada in session on the second morning since an adjourn-
ment had taken place, and almost thirty-five hours without inter-
mission, except two recesses of about two hours each. 81
While Fairbank and his fellow Liberals held the floor of the Commons,
the Liberal newspapers printed their discourses at length, for the edifi-
cation of the faithful.  John Cook, the faithful editor of the Petrolea
Topic, wrote encouragingly,
Your constituents, irrespective of politics, are all proud of the
figure you have made in the discussion of this measure, and from
many who differ with you in opinion I have heard only expressions
of delight at the ability with which you have argued your convic-
tions.  Your political friends are enthusiastic. 82
The Conservative organs, as could be expected, saw things in a different
light.  Concerning a speech which the Topic called "able" and reproduced
in full, the Ottawa Citizen said,
The patience of the House of Commons was wearied yesterday afternoon
by Mr. Fairbank on the Franchise Bill.  At best the Hon. member's
speeches are skim-milk, and poor at that, but on the Franchise bill
his utterances were painfully worse.  They were baldheaded in idea,
barefooted in depth of thought, and exposed a nudity of form and
figure that would made a country schoolmarm blush ... 83
81. J.H. Fairbank, Some Remarks...Upon the Franchise Bill.
(Ottawa, 1885), p. 11, quoting from an undated article in the
Toronto Globe. Creighton (op.cit., p. 426) notes, "On one
occasion, shortly after the Franchise Bill got into committee,
the House sat continuously for two and a half days.  It was
only the most preposterous of the excesses of this most
incredible debate."
82. John A. Cook to J.H.F., Petrolia, 20 May 1885 (Fairbank Papers)
83. Ottawa Citizen, 13 May 1885 (clipping in Fairbank Papers)

To such lengths did the exigencies of party politics lead the Member of
East Lambton, who by his own account had always eschewed "humbug."
While they tenaciously fought the Franchise bill in parliament,
the Liberals also tried to arouse public opinion to persuade the Conser-
vative government to alter or drop the bill.  They organized protest
meetings and circulated petitions.  Fairbank came home to East Lambton
to speak and to start the petitions on their round.  A supporter wrote
later of the effort needed to speed the petition on its way:
Herewith is the petition with 125 signatures.  It has had
a somewhat checkered history.  The first one was well signed
but W.H. Hammond [Hammond said Robert Marwick] upset an ink-
stand on it, and it consequently could not appear in such a
spotless assembly as the House of Commons.  Charlie [Fairbank]
began the second.  Hammond and Sanson took it up.  Sanson has
spent an enormous amount of eloquence and drunk considerable
whiskey pushing it.  This petition has taken more talking than
any petition that I have known of.  Usually people sign freely,
but that is not the case this time, and the signatures repre-
sent really a large amount of honest work. 84
All the efforts of the Liberals to block the Franchise Bill came
to naught when on 3 July 1885 the House of Commons passed the bill into
law, altered in minor respects but basically unchanged. 85   Macdonald
considered it the greatest triumph of his life. 86
A crisis in national unity: 1886.
Where the session of 1885 had opened a deep chasm between the major
political parties on the subject of provincial rights, the session of 1886
brought forth an issue which threatened to split the nation itself.  While
in 1885 the politicians had immersed themselves in endless bickering over
the franchise, and aid to the Canadian Pacific Railway, the attention of
the people was diverted to the Second Riel Rebellion, which flared up and
was extinguished during the spring.  The session ended on the same day that
Louis Riel's trial began in Regina.  Almost four months later, on 16 Novem-
ber 1885, the rebel leader was hanged.  The ghost of this sometime member
of parliament returned to haunt the familiar chamber during the new session,
which opened on 25 February 1886 in the midst of bitter English-French con-
troversy over his execution.
84. Charles Jenkins to J.H.F., Petrolia, 27 May 1885. (Fairbank Papers)
85. Canada.  Parliament.  House of Commons.  Debates, 3 July 1885.  The
Franchise Act was entered in the Statute Books as Canada.  Statutes,
1885.  48/49 Vie. c. 40.
86. Creighton, op.cit., p. 427,

On 11 March, Auguste Landry, Conservative member for Montmagny,
Quebec, bolted his party and moved, "That this House feels it its duty
to express its deep regret that the sentence of death passed upon Louis
Riel, convicted of high treason, was allowed to be carried into execu-
tion." 87  On 30 March at three o'clock in the morning the Landry motion
was voted down by a large majority. 88  Fairbank took only a minor role
in the debate but wrote his friends in East Lambton for advice.  Their
opinions illustrated deep divisions of opinion among the Canadian
people about the Riel question.  Many echoed the majority sentiment of
Ontario, which strongly approved the execution of Riel.  A medical
doctor said, however, "I think Riel was insane, therefore should not
have been executed but sent to an asylum ... To vote Riel insane will
not, cost us a single elector; not to do so might cost many." 89  John
Eraser, of Petrolia, thought that while Riel's grievances had been
legitimate, Riel himself was an utterly unworthy figure over whom to
divide the nation. 90  Fairbank, unlike many English-speaking Liberals,
favoured the Landry motion, telling his son, "My own views ... are not
the views now of a large majority of the people but will be at some
time in the future, but it is with the present public views that we
have to deal." 91 John Cook, the editor of the Petrolea Topic, assured
him, "East Lambton has never challenged your position on any former
question, and I am confident will uphold you in voting for the Landry
motion." 92  Fairbank, however, was called back to Petrolia to preside
at the reorganization of an important oil company, the Oil Exchange
Financial Association, and missed the crucial vote.  His political
opponents carefully noted his absence, waiting for the day when they
could do him harm for it.
A mandate denied: Fairbank loses East Lambton.
Even before the end of the session of 1886 preparations were begun
for the next election, which according to law had to take place within .
the following year. 93  As if to confirm the Liberals' claims that the
87. Canada.  Parliament.  House of Commons.  Debates, 11 March 1886.
88.  Ibid., 30 March 1886.
89.  Dr. A. MacKinnon to J.H.F., Alvinston, 10 March 1886 (Fairbank Papers)
90.  John Eraser to J.H.F., Petrolia, 10 March 1886 (Fairbank Papers)
91.  J.H.F. to Charles 0. Fairbank, Ottawa, 2 March 1886 (Fairbank Papers)
92.  John A. Cook to J.H.F., Petrolia, 15 March 1886 (Fairbank Papers)
93.  Creighton, op.cit., p. 456.

provisions of the new Franchise Act would be applied for the benefit
of che Conservatives, the Revising Barrister appointed tor East Lambton
turned out to be none ether than Fairbank’s old opponent in the 1882
election, John A. Mackenzie, now Judge Mackenzie;  Mackenzie, however,
refused to allow partisan considerations to stain his robe of judicial
purity and Fairbank found no cause of complaint in him.  The operations
of the Franchise Act brought a great deal of additional work for both
parties in having friendly voters registered and unfriendly voters
removed from the list where possible.  Fairbank advised his son,
Mr. Griffiths will soon have the supplementary lists
of voters, that is, a list of the added names, and
soon after that the Judge will give notice of times
of final revision in the various municipalities,
after which notice there will be only 3 weeks in
which to work.
Now you know that Enniskillen, Petrolia, and Oil
Springs are the key of East Lambton; and this bus-
iness must be attended to and the men got to do it.
All friendly names not got must be looked up, and
bad votes offered to us must be proceeded against.
All the local committees must be set to work and
some one specifically employed to do it.  It will
never do to allow the Tories to have the advantage,
the prestige of having got the start of us in this
matter ...
The new list must be gone over in each polling sub-
division and our men marked, then attend to the
other - we want to be pretty sure of being able to
strike off an opponent before proceeding, but I am
satisfied they have put on these names in bulk and
they may have put on some who are not Tories ...
If they do not gain on us in the work they will
hat" the Franchise Bill as much as we do ... Bring
our people to the work. 94
In November the Liberals held a convention at Watford, "the
largest and most enthusiastic ever held in the constituency of East
Lambton, 95 at which Peter Graham and J.H. Fairbank were nominated
for the Ontario Legislature and the House of Commons respectively.
The faithful Topic waxed eloquent on the choice of Fairbank!
94.  J. H. F. to Charles 0. Fairbank, Ottawa, 12 May 1886 (Fairbank
Papers).  "Mr. Griffiths" was Stephen Francis Griffiths, the
Fairbank family lawyer, who left Petrolia about 1896.
95.  Petrolea Topic, 19 November 1886 (clipping in Fairbank Papers)

The nomination of John H. Fairbank as their candidate
for the House of Commons was received with the greatest
possible enthusiasm, the large audience rising as one
man and cheering his name again and again.  His re-
ception was a death-blow to all the ridiculous stories
that were set afloat by the enemy that his course in
Parliament had not met -the favour of his constituents,
and that his second candidature would not be received
so favourably as his first.  It was a complete and
thorough endorsation of his Parliamentary career, and
a spontaneous recognition of his personal popularity
at the same time.  It said in language plain and
unmistakeable that they were prepared to-day to double
the exertions they had used for him when he was a
comparative stranger to the electorate, and that the
confidence they then reposed in him was increased by
his steadfast advocacy of Liberal principles ... He
enters upon the political conflict with renewed
vigour and hope, sure that victory will crown their
united efforts. 96
The candidate immediately addressed a letter to his constituents,
                      which showed his austere views on canvassing, which were apparently
the opposite of those to be employed by his opponent.
PETROLEA, Nov. 25th, 1886.
My Dear Sir,
I am again a Candidate -"or a seat in the House of
Commons as Representative for East Lambton.
I am not now entirely an untried man.  IF, ON THE
WHOLE, (not necessarily in every particular), my
Parliamentary course has been satisfactory; if my
general record through many past years has merited
confidence, I trust you will give me your support.
A full personal canvass is impossible.  I could
not personally ask all for their votes; and if it was
possible, although the practice is to some extent
sanctioned by custom, it is open to objections.  Not
without reason, many dislike being asked by a Candid-
ate for their vote.  Many claim the right to make
their choice of Candidate without being solicited and
partly forced to say "Yes" or "No," and to express that
choice under the secrecy provided by the ballot.  Some
question the magnitude of the compliment contained in a
96 Ibid.

visit made ONLY as an election approaches.  I trust no
one will think I do not want his support should I fail
to call personally upon him...
I will add one word of caution against accepting
as TRUTH the adverse reports circulated at such a time
for political purposes, and to which one actively en-
. gaged in our common business is particularly exposed.
Faitfhfully yours,
At the end of the year, when the Liberals won both Lambton
seats in their usual victorious sweep of the Ontario Legislature,
hopes for Fairbank's success rose.  A fellow banker wrote, "On the
28th day of December, Ontario prepared John A. Macdonald's political
shroud.  The day of the funeral is yet to be fixed. 98  When the long-
awaited federal election was finally announced on 17 January, Fair-
bank addressed another letter to the voters putting his message
simply and directly.
The Dominion elections are now fixed for Tuesday 22nd
February.  I am again the Reform Candidate for a seat
in the House of Commons as representative for East
If my course in Parliament during the past few years
and my business record for many years has merited
your confidence I trust you will give me your vote
and hearty support. 99
In the election of 1887 the Conservatives rectified their
error of 1882.  Instead of sending in a non-resident party stalwart
from outside the riding, they chose a prominent Petrolia lawyer,
George Moncrieff, to campaign against Fairbank. 100
97. From a copy owned by Mr. Charles Fairbank, Petrolia.
98. Montague Smith to J. H. F., Forest-, 30 December 1886 (Fairbank
Papers).  Creighton, op.cit., p. 466 describes Macdonald's
discouragement with the result of the various provincial
99. Printed circular dated 21 January 1887,  (copy in Fairbank
1OO.   Huey, op.cit., p. 105 has o brief biographical sketch of
Moncrie?f, who was born in Scotland in 1842 and died at
Petrolia in 1901.

This action posed a serious problem for Fairbank, for it meant that
instead of merely relying on his personal prestige to win the election,
he would have to win over a substantial number of his fellow oilmen
to the Liberal cause.  It soon became apparent that Moncrieff, unlike
John A. Mackenzie, would receive strong local support because, like
Fairbank, he was a local man. 101  Fairbank's 17-vear-old daughter May
counselled her father to meet Moncrieff on his own terms.
You say political affairs do not look encouraging in
Petrolia; well, you did not expect they would in Petrolia,
did you?  Petrolia is rank Tory; your power is in the
county, but Petrolia gave you a majority of sixty be-
fore & I should think that most who voted for you
at the last election would do so again ... I do not
think Moncrieff is as popular as you are in the
county; he is not even as popular as Mackenzie, but
he can put on that "awfully-glad-to-see-you" air
which takes so well & which you do not cultivate
enough.  Do you go about in the county much?  The
people there appreciate a few words from "the mem-
ber himself," so much, as you well know ... A great
many people do not know whether they are Conservative
or Reformers & vote for the man who pleases them.
Therefore you want to please. 102
Putting forth their best efforts to win East Lambton, the Conservatives
persuaded Sir John A. Macdonald to make his one and only visit to
Petrolia, where he received a rousing welcome. 103  As later events
proved, they also gathered a large campaign fund and spent money
lavishly, not all of it honestly.
The campaign of 1887 was conducted in much the same way as the
previous battle, in 1882.  Fairbank received the warm support of the
Liberal newspapers.  The Petrolea Topic recited the many things that
the Member had done for the town; the Advertiser, bolder than before,
answered in rebuttal that many of Fairbank's proposed improvements
to his properties had not materialized, and that he had consistently
placed his own interests first, making a fortune out of the oil
industry and Petrolia. 104
101. Petrolia Advertiser, December 1886-February 1887.
102. May Fairbank to J. H. F., London, 16 December 1886.  (Fairbank
103. The visit is described in a fairly impartial 2 1/2 column
article in the Liberal Petrolea TopJCj 24 December 1886.
104. No copy of the Topic article has survived.  It was referred to
in the Advertiser for 11 February 1887.

Edward Blake, the national leader of the Liberal Party, followed Macdonald
to Petrolia a few weeks later for a campaign speech. 105   Moncrieff and
Fairbank canvassed East Lambton with the help of many assistants.  Charles
C. Mackenzie, brother of the former Prime Minister, worked diligently
bringing voters to the Liberal cause and building up local organization,
He reported of his activities,
I held a committee meeting in Polling Subdivision No.1,
Bosanquet, last evening.  The weather and roads were
most unfavourable, yet we had a good meeting and went
over the lists carefully; arranged for all doubtful
voters, who should see them, etc.  We arranged also
for the work on election day ... After I have got over
the whole township I will be able to say what the vote
is likely to be.
Moncrieff held a meeting at Watford Monday afternoon.
Mr. Larke, who was expected to be with him did not
get there so Moncrieff was the only speaker.  The
same evening Moncrieff and Larke held a meeting at
Arkona.  One Mr. Castleman, a farmer from Warwick,
took the platform on behalf of the Reformers, and
did very well, in fact so well that the Tories
tried to howl him down. 106
Fairbank and Moncrieff expounded their party's policies with
vigour, enlivened by a moderate amount of personal attack.  Mackenzie
reported on Moncrieff's approach,
Moncrieff speaks on the National Policy, the Pacific
Railway, and Fairbank shirking the Riel vote - he
also refers to your instant and quick opposition to
Tilley's Bank Bill - because that was a matter that
touched your own business as a private banker, and
contrasted your quick action in that matter with
your silence and absence on the Riel matter.  In
case you have to follow "George" I give you these
points as to his Speech.  I daresay the speech will
be about the same wherever delivered. 107
Fairbank flung back the charge of shirking the Riel vote with consider-
able warmth and urged his constituents to entrust their political
affairs to his judgment.
105. W. T, R. Preston to J. H. F., Toronto, 4 February 1887 (Fair-
bank Papers.)
106. CharleE C. Mackenzie to J. H. F., Sarnia, 9 February 1887 (Fair-
bank Papers)  The reference is probably to Frederick or H.M. Casselman,
both of whom lived on Lot 21, concession 6, Warwick Township.
107. Ibid.

Mr. Moncrieff ... insisted upon discussing oil ., I
will run hastily through a sketch of the history of
the oil trade ... I wish you to remember that the duty
upon oil is exactly where Mackenzie and Cartwright
fixed it in 1877.  The National Policy has never touched
if and I shall leave if alone.  It is best that we
leave it alone because it is a hard matter for men
scattered over this Dominion to understand The
question as you understand it.  The oil industry
labours under disadvantages.  If we had the same
crude material as the Americans we could be much
more independent of this protection.  But having
these difficulties and being established 24 years
ago, we have grown into it, and like many more
things we cannot do without it.  I have urged and
still urge upon the people to leave this question
What I would recommend is improvement of the quality
of the manufacture; in this way the oil men can for-
tify their protection better than in any other, and
    in this regard I think I have accomplished as much
during the past year as George Moncrieff would in
a lifetime, even if he lived to be as old as Methus-
aleh.  It is my interest; it is your interest; my
labour for the past 25 years is in it, and I do not
 feel like commencing the battle of life over again.
It should entitle me to your confidence, and I feel
that your interests and my interests are safer in
my hands than in those of George Moncrieff...
I have one more point to deal with tonight.  During
the past 4 years few men have cast more votes than
 I and I have not heard of any of those votes being
challenged, ... but I have been condemned for not
casting a vote - for shirking a vote.  Now, Sir,
there is a particular venom in this charge of shirk-
        ing a vote, for by thus charging me they hope to fix
upon me the stigma of cowardice.  Twelve months ago,
the organization of a company in the interests of
the oil trade was under consideration [the Oil Exchange
Financial Association] ... More time was consumed
than was expected before the company was formed, and
            as your representative my duty was to go to Ottawa.
I went, telling my associates here that if it was
necessary for them to send for me, I would come home.
The Riel debate had dragged its weary way for many
   days.  It was of no importance to any person but
myself that I should remain there.  I knew that half
the Opposition were to vote with the Government, and
knew what the result would be ...

At the solicitation of [Frank Smith and Edwin Dr. Kerby]
I came to Petrolea and redeemed the promise I had given
them.  The vote occurred some three or four days after
my return, and I was detained here some three weeks in
completing the work I came to do. ... I know this argu-
ment shirking the vote has been used by men in Petrolea;
on every concession and side line this argument is being
used.  I say it is dishonourable and mean as dirt ...
This is not a proper way to reward a faithful servant,
At the meeting in the rink here Sir John left me severely
alone.  In Sarnia he attacked me for shirking the Riel
vote ... and I regret Mr. Moncrieff, who sat beside me,
and who must have known the reasons of my return, did
not check him.  I would have checked my leader and told
him not to use an argument of that kind under the cir-
cumstances.  But where was Sir John himself when the Riel
vote was taken?  Was he in the House?  No!  He was ill…
His not voting has been used by his Quebec friends in his
Favour. 108
Fairbank received many written answers to his printed circular
sent to the voters in 1887.  One of them posed a number of questions
which revealed what the ordinary working man knew and discussed of
Fairbank's business and political affairs.
Your solicitation for my vote is at hand.  Before deciding
I should be pleased to receive an answer to these questions,
Of course I heard them on the street, but I came to the
conclusion the most honorable way to act about it was to
say nothing but ask you privately.
    1.  Did he [Fairbank], his family and friends, buy a
large, a controlling interest in the Producers' Refinery
with the distinct understanding that it would have nothing
to do with the Syndicate?
2.  Did he "bull" the Syndicate into giving $1.50

for his oil, when the market price was from 70 to 80 cents?
     3.  Does he not expect $92,000 as extras claimed on
a contract on the C.P.R. in the time of the Mackenzie govern-
ment, if he and Blake get into power as leader and follower?
         4.  Is the "Topic" controlled financially and politically
by Mr. J.H. Fairbank?
108. Petrolea Topic, 24 December 1886.  The Watford Guide-Advocate.
in its issues for February 1887, gave a lengthy report on the
arguments between Fairbank and Moncrieff on the subject of the
Riel vote.

5.  When the Riel question was before the House, did
he come home to reconstruct, make effective, and put in force
a new ironclad Syndicate under the name of Financial Associ-
ation so that Refiners could dictate the price of crude to
producers and never let it reach an open market value, in
short, to reconstruct a monopoly?
If you consider these questions worthy of an answer, well and
good; I have not moved them to or fro, but if they are not
true, I am led to believe "man's inhumanity to man makes
countless thousands mourn." 109
As this letter reached Fairbank's hands on the day of the election, it
was probably never answered.  While the writer's motives were sincere,
his facts were an interesting compound of truth and misunderstanding. 110
109. Joel Newton to J.H.F., Petrolia, 21 February 1887.   (Fairbank
110. The writer of this thesis ventures to answer the questions as
follows:     1].  No.  Fairbank and his associates never owned
enough stock to affect the policies of the Producers Refinery
(of which A. C. Edward was President); letters in the Fairbank
Papers show that Fairbank was very dissatisfied with the
management of the company but was unable to make desired
changes.  2].  Unlikely.  Such an action would have been out of
Fairbank's character; no evidence exists to support such a
charge.    3].  Unlikely.  Although efforts were still being made
in 1885 to collect money on the Sifton 6 Ward contracts,
the amount suggested ($92,000) was far out of proportion
to anything that Fairbank would have at stake in the un-
collected balance.  It is quite possible, however, that had
the Liberals come to power, any claim of Fairbank's would
have been given sympathetic consideration. 
              4].  Yes.  Fair-

bank's financial accommodation certainly kept the paper alive.
It would have been good business for the Topic to support the
Liberal Party, for it could thereby keep the support of J. H.
Fairbank, and oppose its older Conservative rival, the
Advertiser.  Contemporary newspaper directories show that
competition between weekly newspapers in a town almost always
involved political rivalry during this era. 
             5].  No.

On 22 February 1887, seventy-eight percent of the East Lambton
electorate voted, turning Fairbank's majority of 163 at the last election
into a majority of 142 for George Moncrieff. 111   Only Reform-minded
Bosanquet and Warwick Townships gave Fairbank a majority.  Petrolia
and Enniskillen, who had swept Fairbank to victory in 1882, now turned
against him and yielded a strong majority for Moncrieff.  Their change
of heart marked the only significant difference between the results of
1882 and those of 1887 and really decided the outcome.
In 1882 the oilmen had preferred Fairhank to an unknown party man
from outside the riding.  In 1887, when they had a choice between Fair-
bank and another well-known Petrolian, they returned to the party fold,
The Conservative Advertiser, despite its political bias, assessed the
results realistically:
The issue was in no case personal, the opposing gentlemen
being men of integrity and honour.  The defeat of Mr. Fair-
bank is attributable not so much to failure in himself but
because unfortunately for him, he was identified with, and
his hands tied by, a party whose leaders the people could
neither believe or trust. 112
Among Fairbank's friends who offered their regrets on the loss of
his election was the aging but still alert Alexander Mackenzie.
I have often since the Elections intended to write you to express
my deep regret at the ingrateful [sic] treatment you received at
the hands of the East Lambtonians, but my handwriting is now so
much affected that I can barely make a letter readable.
I was very very sorry that you was [sic] unsuccessful, all the
more that you came out last time very unwillingly at the urgent
request of all the party, including myself, at a great sacrifice
to your purse and personal comfort.  You gave all your strength
to the work of the House, and was far above the average of new
members in the higher realm of politics.  I always considered
during the last two sessions that you had made your position
and that you would be stronger than in 1882; certainly that
was the opinion of all your parliamentary colleagues, and now
a small majority in East Lambton decide otherwise, yet people
111. In 1882, Fairbank polled 1734 votes and Mackenzie 1569, a total
of 3303.  Fairbank's majority was 165-  (Canadian Parliamentary
Guide, 1885, p. 179),  In 1887, Moncrieff polled 2488 votes,
against Fairbank's 2346, a total of 4834; the total number of
voters was 6,180 out of a population of 21,725.  The increase
in the number of votes cast was ascribed to the provisions of
the Franchise Act, which made many more people eligible.
112. Petrolia Advertiser, 25 February 1887.

quote "Vox populi vox Dei."  However, we have to accept the
scandalous verdict for the moment.  I hope your friends are
taking steps to contest the election; this should be done
wherever bribery and fraud can be brought home to them and
the sitting member removed. 113

While in 1882 the victorious Fairbank paid no attention to electoral
corruption, indeed, perhaps knew of none, his defeat in 1887 was embittered
by the certain knowledge that his opponents had broken the laws in their
successful effort to unseat him.  For a few days Fairbank considered pro-
testing Moncrieff's election for corruption.  Edward Blake and Richard Cart-
wright both urged him to do so. 114  Charles Fairbank wrote to many Liberals
asking for information on conduct of the Deputy Returning Officers.
Many rumours have come to us of irregular and unlawful acts
committed by Deputy Returning Officers.  Will you kindly
send full information of any that may have occurred in your
polling subdivision. 115
The answers revealed insufficient evidence to support charges of corruption;
indeed, one correspondent gratuitously remarked, "If there has been anything
wrong it must have been in your own part of the Riding." 116
During the investigation conducted by J.H. Fairbank and his son,
many individual examples of bribery and other illegal practices came to
light.  Memos were duly compiled noting anything which could be used in
an election lawsuit.  These documents told not only about East Lambton
but provided an illustration of what must have been common practice through-
out the province in this era.  Two examples will suffice.
M.J. Woodward asked Pete Burns who he was going to vote for.
Pete said Fairbank.  Woodward said that was not the right side;
he had plenty of work for Pete and his boys and money was no
object.  Pete distinctly understood it as an offer for his vote.
113. Alexander Mackenzie to J.H.F., Toronto, 23 March 1887 (Fairbank
Papers).  Mackenzie was partially paralyzed by this time.
(Thomson, op.cit., p. 384)
114. Richard J. Cartwright to J.H.F., Toronto, 23 March 1887;
Edward Blake to J.H.F., Toronto, 23 £ 28 February 1887
(Fairbank Papers)
115. C.O. Fairbank, circular, dated Petrolia, 15 March 1887
(Fairbank Papers)
116.  Alex. Davidson to C.O. Fairbank, Arkona, 21 March 1887,
(Fairbank Papers)

[Copy; evidently written from a bar-room:]
"To the Hon. J.L. Englehart.  We the undersigned electors
believe that it would materially increase Mr. Moncrieff's
majority in East Lambton if some- liquid refreshments were
ordered for the Company.  [Signed] E. McGillicuddy, John
Shaw, James S. Williams, D. Hay, H.F. Williams, C. VanAnken,
Len Fowler."  Englehart came down twice; treated first to
drinks, afterwards to cigars. 117
An Alvinston doctor advised:
Fifteen or twenty in Alvinston would have to confess to
receiving money, if sworn.  Bribery was open, almost, and
on a large scale all along the railway.  We have one witness
who could prove that he attended a committee meeting in
Brooke where Savage [a Conservative agent] parcelled out
money for various persons and places.
But, as the doctor admitted in despair, and as Fairbank evidently agreed,
Unless we can show wholesale bribery, I would not advise
a protest.  We can unseat Moncrieff, but he would be re-
elected unless the thing were made odious to the more re-
spectable.  The more respectable!  Where are they?" 118
Despite a final reminder from the party, Fairbank allowed the deadline to
pass without taking any action;  he obviously considered a protest
hopeless. 119
After the election was over, Fairbank was pressed for expense money
by people who claimed to have come home to East Lambton to vote.  Under
the election laws of the time, citizens could vote in any constituency
where they held enough property to qualify.  Candidates in need of votes
found it advisable to import voters from outside where possible.  Fair-
bank evidently paid the travelling expenses of some known Liberals who
came to help on election day; however, he received some requests which
had to be denied.  One man wrote,
117. From file re 1887 election, Fairbank Papers.
118 Dr. A. Mackinnon to B.S. VanTuyl, Alvinston, 26 February 1887
(Fairbank Papers)
119. "I  beg to remind you that Moncrieff was gazetted on March 12th and
that protest must be filed within 30 days from that date.  Mr. Blake
is extremely anxious that a protest should be entered in your riding
if evidence of corruption can be secured."
(W.T.R. Preston, General Secretary, Provincial Reform Association,
Toronto, to J.H.F., 7 April 1887; Fairbank Papers).

Dear Sir.  Would you please send me the money that was
promised to me by Mr. McNaughton for my vote.  The other
parties that went from here got ten dollars and I was
promised the same and I think it is about time that I
should get mine.  Now I lost my job by going out there
to vote and also paid my own way. 120
Fairbank wrote "A damned scoundrel" on the back of this letter and filed
it, probably unknowingly, for posterity.
When the heat of the campaign was receding into memory, Fairbank
may not have regretted his loss.  He found politics exhilarating, enjoy-
ing the cut and thrust of debate and his contact with the leaders of the
country.  Yet for all its rewards, the life of the parliamentarian exacted
a heavy price.  The endless round of party politicking, the weary journeys
to and from the capital, the long absences from home and business, the
canvassing, speeches, tea-meetings, took their toll of Fairbank's physical
and mental energy.  His defeat in 1887 did not rankle; several years later
he said whimsically,
I spent four winters in the Canadian parliament, and con-
sequently know when a constituency is hard-pressed, and
'how little material a legislator can be made out of.  At
the end of this time, my constituents seemed to need me at
home, as they did not send me again, though I was willing
to go. 121
Watching from the sidelines, 1887 - 1914.
During the second half of his career in the Lambton oil fields,
J.H. Fairbank left active politicking to younger men while he pursued
his steadily expanding business interests.  After his defeat in the
election of 1887, he did not run again.  In 1891 he did not even vote.
In that year the Liberal party, now under the leadership of Wilfrid
Laurier, abandoned its traditional policy of moderate protection, and
turned instead to unrestricted reciprocity, long advocated by the
party's free trade elements.  If put into effect, the new policy
would have wiped out the Canadian oil industry.  Fairbank commented,
"This does not do in Oildom," 122 and refused the Liberal nomination,
which went instead to Richard Stutt, a Bosanquet Township farmer.
As the old parliamentarian explained to his son, he simply could
not run on a platform so utterly contrary to his basic principles.
120. Edward Hendrick to J.H.F., Sarnia, 23 August 1887 (Fairbank Papers)
121. Lorenzo Sayles Fairbanks.  Genealogy of the Fairbanks  Family in
America (Boston 1897) p. 812.
122. J.H.F. to C.O. Fairbank, 11 February 1891 (Fairbank Papers)

I am frequently interrogated, "Won't you run?"  I now
reply, it is not that I won't run, but that I can't
run.  1 am not in harmony with the present issue of
my party.  We had quite a gathering last evening to
appoint delegates to the nominating convention at
Watford tomorrow.  There was a lively discussion...
Many of us Grits will "take to the woods."  I am a
political orphan. 123
The Petrolia Advertiser, ever a strong supporter of Macdonald and the
Conservatives, warmed to the battle.
They [the Liberals] have just 20 days in which to bellow forth
their Unrestricted Reciprocity yarn.  Just 20 days to use all
their efforts to ruin our fair Dominion's prospects of pros-
perity.  How feeble their power is, will at the end of that
period of probation be amply demonstrated. 124
Many East Lambton Liberals must have abstained from voting, and others
must have crossed party lines and voted for George Moncrieff, the sitting
member and Conservative candidate.  As "the champion of the oil interest," 125
Moncrieff piled up the tremendous majority of 566, more than 400 above his
previous record, when he had defeated J.H. Fairbank.
A few weeks after the election, the death of Sir. John A. Macdonald
brought the country together in mourning.  Fairbank wrote nostalgically to
his son,
Before this reaches you the most prominent character
in Canadian history will have "crossed the river."
Sir  John Macdonald is lying at the point of death.
Paralysis has succeeded nervous prostration.  He will
leave an immense vacuum in Canadian politics.  He "dies
in harness," having worked to the last.  He has done
many things wrong, but no man knows how many wrong
things he has been pressed to do and refused.  That
he had great administrative ability and loved Canada
I believe few will deny. 126
123. Ibid.
124. Petrolia Advertiser, 13 February 1891.
125. Ibid., 20 February 1891.
126. J.H.F. to C.0.Fairbank,30 May 1891.  (Fairbank Papers)


A few days later, he concluded:
Sir John "moved the adjournment" at 10:15 Saturday evening.  It
will be many years before the House of Commons will look natural
again with Sir John wanting, and hardly at all to those who have
been with him there. 127
In later years Fairbank devoted his political energy to encourag-
ing old friends, like Charles C. Mackenzie, the provincial member for
East Lambton and brother of the one-time Prime Minister, and his own
son, Charles, who tried unsuccessfully to recapture his father's seat
for the Liberals.
In Fairbank's lifetime the innate Conservatism of the oil district
asserted itself at every federal election. 128 Only once did a Liberal win
the seat again during that period.  In 1896 John Fraser vanquished George
Moncrieff, the victor of 1887 and 1891, by the paper-thin majority of 14
votes.  Fraser himself went .down to defeat by 221 votes in 1900, at the
hands of Oliver Simmons.  After the latter's death Joseph E. Armstrong
retained East Lambton for the conservatives at a by-election on 16.Febru-
ary 1904.  Over a period of twenty-two years Armstrong held the seat
successfully for his party.  His opponent in 1908 and 1911 was Dr. Charles
Oliver Fairbank, who was unable to come closer to winning than 460 votes.
From its formation in 1882 until after Fairbank's death, all the success-
ful candidates for East Lambton were Petrolia oilmen.  His own initial
victory in 1882 was due to peculiarly favourable local circumstances, and
Fraser's victory in 1896 was part of a vast Liberal sweep.  Apart from
these isolated exceptions. East Lambton reflected the Conservative out-
look which Sir John A. Macdonald had discerned when he created the riding.
127. Ibid. , 8 June 1891.
128. Information in this paragraph is drawn from various issues of the
Canadian Parliamentary Guide.
Fairbank Papers, Library, University of Western Ontario,
Newspapers (period 1882-1887):
London: Advertiser; Free Press.
Ottawa; Citizen.
Petrolia: Advertiser; Topic.
Sarnia: Observer.
Toronto: Globe, Grip.
Watford; Advocate-Advi ser; Guide-News; combined in
1886 as Guide-Advocate.
Winnipeg: Daily Times.
Printed sources:

Canada. Laws, Statutes, etc.; various years.
Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Debates, 1883-1886,
Canadian Parliamentary Guide; various years.
Fairbank, J.H., Some Remarks ... Upon the Franchise
Bill.  Ottawa, 1885.
Fairbanks, Lorenzo Sayles, Genealogy of the Fairbanks
Family in America.  Boston, 1897.
Kerr, James, "The Oil Belt," in Toronto Mail, 1 December
1888 (republished as "An Early View of Petrolia, Ontario," in
Western Ontario Historical Notes, XVIII, 2, September 1962,
pp. 57-91.

Creighton. Donald Grant. John A. Macdonald, Toronto, 1955-56. 2 v.
Huey, John Alexander. The Wardens. Councillors Parliamentary
Representatives. Judicial Officers, and County Officials of the County of
Lambton for 100 years from 1849 to 1949,  Sarnia. 1950,
Morgan, Henry J,, ed,. The Dominion Annual Register and
Review,..for 1886. Montreal, 1887.
Thomson, Dale C., Alexander Mackenzie; Clear Grit.
Toronto, 1960.


 The book "The Story of Fairbank Oil " with permission by the author