terms of economic, military, and social
development it ranks as a golden age of
that country. Embodying this period of
progress was Emperor Pedro II (who I
will need to write a full profile of at
some point). Between suppressing the
slave trade, and eventually abolishing
it, he was also an ardent patron of the
arts and sciences. This would lead
Charles Darwin to comment, "The
Emperor does so much for science, that
every scientific man is bound to show him the utmost
respect". He was also somewhat curious about Canada.
The Emperor's attention would first turn to Canada in 1866
when the colonies of British North America sent a trade
mission to Brazil. At the time only Nova Scotia had any direct
trade with the country. When the trade delegation met with
the Emperor he questioned them about the future of the
Dominion of Canada, Montreal's Victoria Bridge, railways,
canals, the Canadian climate, agriculture and other topics.
Despite the warm welcome from the Emperor no agreement
for free trade between the Empire of Brazil and the future
Canadian Dominion was forthcoming. Back in Canada the
trade delegation concluded that the Canadian market was too
small to develop direct trade with Brazil.
In 1876 the Emperor embarked on a state visit to the United
States and Europe with a delegation that included members of
his family and court. His goals for the US leg of the trip was to
learn more about the country, improve economic ties, and
attend the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. He would
then proceed onto the European leg of his trip.
between the Emperor's arrival in the United States and his
appearance at Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. He
crossed into Canada at Niagara Falls and on June 5th made
his way by train to Hamilton and Kingston. Apparently, his
arrival caused a fair amount of curiosity and his train car was
often surrounded by locals when it arrived at each station.
When the train arrived in Toronto the mayor of the city went
down to the train station and, after being granted an
audience, requested the Emperor stay and enjoy the
hospitality of the city. This offer was refused as he had already
made plans to head on to Montreal. At some point after
arriving in Canada the Governor General learned of the
Emperor's visit and sent his respects.
On June 6th the Emperor departed for Montreal on the ship
Spartan. About one hundred people were on the Kingston
wharf to see him off. It is reported that the Emperor could
not be distinguished among the other passengers as a group
of men were inquiring about his travels and he in turn was
asking many questions about Canada. The captain of the
Spartan was unaware of his special passenger as the Emperor
had not allowed word to be sent ahead.
Upon arriving at Montreal the Emperor was the "recipient of
many cheers, which lasted until he entered a carriage, when
he responded by raising his hat". That evening the Emperor
went to the Academy of Music where he was received
warmly. June 7th had an intense schedule (for an unofficial
visit). He started at the Notre Dame Cathedral and then went
to Bonsecours Market at around 7am. The Emperor spent
some time examining the meat and poultry. This astonished
the butchers as they could not believe a living emperor would
visit their stalls, and at such an early hour in the morning.
Afterwards the Emperor visited many places in Montreal
including Bonsecours Church, Mount Royal, the Deaf and
Dumb Institute, the Natural History Museum, and McGill
A Canadian Friend
planned trip to Quebec City due to the poor health of the
Empress. It had been a good trip and the Emperor was left
with a positive impression of Canada. He is recorded to have
commented on the superiority of the Canadian political
system in comparison to the American system. But no closer
trade ties developed from this trip.
The imperial delegation made their way slowly back
to Philadelphia where the Emperor officially opened the
exhibition with President Ulysses S. Grant and joined by
another man they served as judges of the various scientific
exhibits present. At this exhibition was noted Canadian
inventor Alexander Graham Bell who was demonstrating his
newest invention; the telephone. The two men had met at
in Boston at an earlier date. It is fortunate that the Emperor
remembered him as the judges for the exhibition were about
to adjourn without having examined Mr. Bell's exhibit.
Emperor held the receiver up to his ear as
Mr. Bell recited a few lines of Shakespeare.
The Emperor exclaimed "It talks!" and it
made a great impression on the other
judges as well. It is impossible to say how
this chance meeting affected the future
prospects of the telephone but a mere 14
years later the Empire would have its first
telephone company. The Emperor and Mr. Bell would
continue to write each other and become friends.
Ultimately, the Emperor's visit to Canada would be forgotten
and it would not be until World War Two that the two
countries began seeking closer economic ties.
A Kisaragi Colour