- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 25 Apr 1929, p. 168-188
- Riddell, The Honourable William Renwick, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Historical background to the way in which a Canadian Citizen is a "subject." How this meaning of "subject" helped the King of England to unify the Island under one Crown. "Canadian Citizen" as a convenient term for a British subject who makes his home in Canada, whether he is born or naturalized there or came from some other part of the British world. The American understanding of their citizenship; its meaning and their rights under the Constitution. Comparing this with the largely unwritten Canadian Constitution. Understanding the role and function of the Governor-General. Canada's evolution from a "Colony." The significance of the American Revolution. A consideration of the logical result of the view of allegiance—"citizenship" determined in "Calvin's Case," more than three centuries ago. A review of some of Canada's significant historical events. The early history of Canada's first Lieutenant-Governor, John Graves Simcoe. Effects of the American Revolution on the British Empire. The birth of the New British Empire in Canada. The new British Empire as the most interesting example of political evolution the world has ever seen. Reasons for the necessity of a Governor in Canada from the Mother Country. The British North America Act. The conception of the Dominion of Canada. The early structure of Canadian Administrative Government. The role of the Governor-General. Consideration discussion that has taken place with regard to whether Canada can be called a nation. Drawing legal and practical distinctions. Canada as a "Dependency" of Great Britain in International Law. The question: What then, in fact, is a "Canadian Citizen?" and the speaker's response.
- Date of Original
- 25 Apr 1929
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- Full Text
- WHAT IS A CANADIAN CITIZEN?
AN ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE WILLIAM RENWICK RIDDELL, LL.D., D.C.L., ETC.
JUSTICE OF APPEAL, ONTARIO.
25th April, 1929
The President of the Club introduced the speaker, who said,
Imprimis, he isn't.
And if you are a legalist and a lover of the Classics you may add et ad finem et ab ovo usque ad malum.(1)
There is no such thing, in strict terminology, as a "Canadian Citizen", just as there is no such thing as the "British Empire" or the "British Commonwealth of Nations."2 But qui haeret in litteris, haeret in cortice--and he who is a stickler for the literal may miss the substance-there is no difficulty in understanding what is meant by the expression "British Empire", any more than in understanding the inscription on the Quaker Church opposite Franklin's grave in Philadelphia which says that the building was erected in a certain "year of the Empire."(3)
With every concession to the literalist, I make no difficulty in using the terminology, "Canadian Citizen", and this without fear of misconception.
To use the familiar and traditional language, the Canadian Citizen is a "subject", but a "subject" of whom?
The first Stuart King of England, James I, (James VI of Scotland), was ardently desirous of having his two Kingdoms of England and Scotland welded into one Kingdom of Great Britain. One means recommended itself to him, which might assist in that direction, that is, to have all those born in Scotland after his accession to the throne of England, considered "naturalborn subjects" for all purposes also in England. The English 1Lords were quite willing to meet the King's wishes in this regard; but the Commons proved recalcitrant-they were Englishmen and were desirous that the Scot should stick to his own country and leave England to the English-it may be that this sentiment continues to survive in some quarters even to this day.
Matters standing at a deadlock, it chanced that a Scottish lad who had been born in Scotland after James' accession to the English throne, became entitled-were he a "natural-born subject"-to certain land in England. By the Common Law of England, no one but a "naturalborn subject" can inherit land in England: and the sole question was "Is the young Scot, Robert Calvin, a 'natural-born subject'?"
A Bill of Equity was filed on behalf of the lad: and also an action at the Common Law in Ejectment was brought. Demurrers were entered in both proceedings, raising the neat point: the Lord Chancellor, Lord Ellesmere, who was in favour of the King's views, might have decided the case in his own Court for the plaintiff; but the Demurrer in the Common Law action having been referred to a Court of all the Common Law judges, it was thought well to have both Demurrers argued together before a full Bench of Judges in the Exchequer Chamber.
The modern has some difficulty in following the mediaeval subtlety and metaphysical terminology of the arguments, and indeed it may be said that a modern has difficulty in getting into the atmosphere of those days, whether in Law, Medicine, Philosophy, what not? Matter composed of four Elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, the Animal world having the serpent which slew at a distance by its glance and the little fish which checked the course of a ship in full sail-the Vegetable Kingdom boasting its mandrake-root which shrieked when drawn from the earth-the four "humours" of the body, Blood, Phlegm, Yellow Bile and Black Bile-whose predominance determined the "temperament"-all that "knowledge" now obsolete and when remembered an object of ridicule.
Even in Mathematics, Cardan is not always wholly intelligible if Cocker is; although we had to wait for Gauss and Bolyai for real transcendentalism.
It was no wonder then that the relation of subject to King was discussed in language scarcely intelligible to the modern. It may perhaps not be very wide of the mark to say that the contention of the defendants was, in substance, that a "natural born subject" was a person born the subject of the King of England qua King of England-a metaphysical entity-while that of the plaintiffs was that a "natural-born subject" was a person, born the subject of the human being, the individual, who was King of England-an entity of flesh and blood. The decision was in favour of the plaintiffs
the King, the man, was King of Scotland; and Calvin was his natural-born subject and the fact that he was King of England also did not destroy the tie of allegiance.
It consequently follows that while anyone born in England is a subject of the King because he is the King of England, and any one born anywhere else than in England in the King's dominions was and is a subject of the King, not because he is King of England, but because he is King of the territory in which the subject was born.
The enormous significance of this conclusion was to a certain extent, although by no means fully, recognized at the time; it was that the decision tended to help the King in his endeavours to unify the Island under one Crown, instead of two: and beyond question, it was in accordance with the King's hopes and wishes. On the giving of judgment, a unique occurrence took place-unique, at all events, in English jurisprudence. According to Coke's Reports, 7 Co. R. 28 (a), it was intimated from the Bench that the King had not interfered! The delectable utterance is thus reported: "In the proceeding of this case . . . . did the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas publicly deliver in the end of his argument in the Exchequer Chamber. First, that no commandment or message by word or writing was sent or delivered from any whatsoever to any of the judges, to cause them to incline to any opinion in this case; which I remember, for that it is honourable for the state and consonant to the laws and statutes of this realm . . . . " The whole story may be read in Calvin's Case, (1608) 2 Howell's State Trials, 607, sqq. The case is generally known as the Case of the Postuati.(4)
The result of the judgment in unifying the whole British world is incalculable-but often overlooked. The tie of allegiance is personal between a person superior, the Sovereign, and a person inferior the Subject: Every British subject is a subject of a personal King, but not qua King of some other part of British territory; and wherever that King reigns, the subject is a "natural-born subject", not simply in his own particular part of the King's dominions: Civis Britannicus sum, non civis Canadensis.
The people of one part of the Empire are not the subjects of the people of any other part: Canadians are not subjects of Englishmen any more than Englishmen are subjects of Canadians-both are subjects of the same individual, each (speaking generally) being born in some part of the dominions of that individual.
"Canadian Citizen" is a convenient term for a British subject who makes his home in Canada, whether he is born or naturalized there or came from some other part of the British world.
An American' citizen has, or, at least, need have, no difficulty as to his status and rights-the Constitution of his country is in writing and means what it says (we may perhaps except the Electoral College); if there be any doubt of the meaning of the language employed in the Constitution, the Courts may be asked to interpret it. A Canadian Citizen is not in the same case; his Constitution is largely unwritten, and what is written often does not mean what it says, but is what is sometimes called camouflage-from the King who is said to be King by the Grace of God, although everybody, including himself, and he is proud of it--knows that he is King by the grace of an Act of Parliament--who is the owner of all the land in Canada, but who cannot give his son a ranch, and accordingly, the Prince of Wales has to buy one like any Canadian (or should I say "any other Canadian"?)through the Governor-General and Lieutenant-Governor who do no governing, either originally or substitutionally -to the County Police Magistrate who has nothing to do with the Police.
It is this difference that makes it so difficult for one not accustomed to our ways, an American, for example, to understand the position of Canada and Canadians.
He finds the Imperial Government sending out a Governor-General to Canada and, at once, and naturally, the American thinks of his own Governor; and if he is a student of history, of the Colonial Governors before the Revolution-he is puzzled at a dignitary with so august a title having practically no authority and no official duty but to "sign on the dotted line". He may, indeed, derive some assistance from Theodore Roosevelt's description of the King as a sort of perpetual Vice-President and head of the Four Hundred.
So, too, he may see a Canadian Lieutenant-Governor who is not an officer to act in lieu of the Governor-General in case of his absence, (as the Lieutenant-Governor acts in the place, lieu, of the Governor in his absence) the Chief-Justice of Canada generally does that-the Canadian Lieutenant-Governor is not "in lieu" of anybody; but he is in a Province what the Governor-General is in the Dominion-a Roi Faineant, who does as he is told by a Ministry, nominally responsible to the King whose personal Representative he is, but in fact, responsible to the people. As his Master, the King is and must be satisfied with reigning and leaves the ruling to the people to whom it rightly belongs-so his personal Representative, Governor-General or Lieutenant-Governor must be content with the name of governing and not therefore with those who actually do govern the people.
The American seeing in the written Constitution of Canada, that the Governor-General must give the Royal Assent to all legislation of the Parliament of Canada before it becomes law, and the Lieutenant-Governor the like in a Province) naturally thinks of the President of the United States and the Governor of a State exercising their independent judgment on the Bills sent up to them, and rejecting them if not satisfied with them. Theoretically, the right exists--one anomalously, in a Province of the Dominion it has been exercised-that episode deserves a chapter for itself) but for all practical purposes, it is as dead as Queen Anne, as dead as the right of the King to decline to give, in time-honoured Norman French, his Assent to legislation passed at Westminister, a right which has not been exercised since the time of King William III.
Anyone not a British subject, seeing it solemnly expressed that the Governor-General must transmit to the Imperial authorities a copy of every Act of Parliament to which he has given Royal Assent, and that at any time within two years any Act may be disallowed, would be perfectly justified in believing that Canadian legislation is scrutinized at Westminster, and such as does not recommend itself to the Administration disallowed. Theoretically, that is the course to be pursued; but, in fact, with the exception of one Act which was disallowed more than half a century ago at the suggestion of the Canadian Ministry, the technical right of disallowance has never been exercised by the Imperial Administration, although there has been much that was unpalatable to the Mother Country. Not for more than half a century has there been so much as a suggestion that Canadian legislation should be interfered with; and it is unthinkable that there can ever be a recrudescence of any disposition to treat Canada as a "Colony".
This condition of affairs was not achieved uno ictic, but by a long course of evolution.
Lord Balfour has recently said that the real cause of the American Revolution was the conception in the Old Land that the Colonies were a "possession" of England. I heard in Westminster Hall five years ago the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain say in public that the American Revolution was the most important event in the history of the Empire in the 18th century.' With the former statement I wholly agree; and in the latter go further than Lord Haldane and say that in my opinion, the American Revolution was the most important event in the world in its century, being the initiation of the change from the Old British Empire which it destroyed, to the New British Empire, our glory and our pride, which secularly is the greatest and most efficient power for good in the world.
Let us consider the logical result of the view of allegiance-"citizenship", if you will-determined in Calvin's Case, more than three centuries ago.
If and so far as the King actually ruled and commanded personal obedience, there could be no difficulty between the peoples of the different parts of his realm. All these peoples received their government from the one man whom they were bound to obey, and it made' no difference where he chose to live. The fact that he lived in England gave no right to any Englishman to dictate to anyone not an Englishman or in England; nor did it elevate an Englishman above other subjects of their common King.
But even in James' time, the ruling power of the King of England had become seriously impaired-a Henry II or even a Henry VIII had become impossible and there was already much of the view of the rights of the subject which culminated on the scaffold at Whitehall in January, 1649, when the "Martyr King", Charles I, met his doom.
By degrees, and with an occasional reactionary setback, the Royal Power dwindled in fact, though the traditional forms were preserved. We British are not a folk troubling themselves with terminological exactitude, we care little or nothing for form-so long as the institution works all right, we do not worry over what it may be called; and as the old forms did not harm, they were retained. But the letter remaining the same the whole spirit of government was revolutionised-the people were to rule, not the King.
The logic of the situation was that when the people ruled, those of each part of the King's Realm should rule their own part if capable of doing so, the "citizens" of any one part not being subjects of the "citizens" of any other part. This principle was fully recognized even when considerable Royal power still existed; while James and his successors were Kings of both England and, Scotland and, consequently, their Royal mandate was to be obeyed by Englishmen and Scotsmen, the Council or Advisers of the King in one Kingdom did not presume to interfere with the affairs of the other, and until Queen Anne's time, each country had its own Parliament. Scotland was not considered a "possession" of England though it was a "possession" of him who was King of England and who lived in England.
In the case of the Colonies, logically the same principle should prevail. So long, indeed, as the Colony was in its infancy, unable to look after itself, supported by the money and arms of the Mother Country, it might well be denied self-government-it would probably not ask self-government-it would be like a child requiring care and guidance. But the Colony did not belong to the people of the Old Land-the Colonists were not subjects of the people of the Old Land-the Colony belonged to the King and it was to the King that the Colonists owed their allegiance.
When Canada became British de jure by the Treaty of Paris in 1763 at the close of the Seven Years' War, there was in the mind of the King and the governing classes, no conception of the Colonies other than that they were a "possession" of England, the property of England, and therefore to be administered for the benefit of England, the advancement of her trade and manufactures. The Colonists were looked on as inferiors who had to obey and be guided by their superiors across the sea; their Governors were expected to obey the orders of the Administration at Westminister and were in no way responsible to the people of the Colonies; and the legislation of their parliamentary bodies was constantly and effectively supervised by the Privy Council and its Committee, the "Lords of Trade".
This was the only conception of Colonial Government that had ever entered the mind of the King and his advisers in England. The Governor, Governor-General, or Lieutenant-Governor, being a Representative of the King, was an officer of the Home Administration, the King's Advisers at his home and obedient to its mandates.
To give an example from the early history of our first Lieutenant-Governor, John Graves Simcoe, thought Timothy Pickering (an American Commissioner, sent to make a treaty with the Indians) "a violent, low, philosophic, cunning New Englander. In conversation at our table he held out to our gentry of the same stamp, Hamilton and Cartwright, the doctrine that assimilates States to private families and deduces from the child growing up into manhood and being capable to take care of himself and that it is right and natural for a son to set up for himself and by a just inference that such is the disposition and tendency of all States." See my Life o f John Graves Simcoe, Toronto, 1926, p. 205. (Hamilton and Cartwright, grandfather of Sir Richard, were Legislative Councillors who would not always do as they were told hinc illae lacrimae et illa vituperatio).
The American Colonists in the course of time had another view from that of the King's advisers namely, that the Colonies existed not for the Mother Country but for the Colonists, and the Colonists were not the inferiors or subjecs of the people of the Old Land but knew best what suited to their own needs; and must be trusted to do their own law-making-retaining their allegiance to the King, indeed, but owing none to his Government or Advisers at Westminister. The determination to retain their allegiance to the King was manifested almost up to July 4, 1776, and it was only when it was absolutely manifest to the Colonies that they could not have self-government as the English people had it and retain their allegiance, that the Declaration of Independence was framed.
I do not propose to enter into a discussion as to the rights and wrongs of the American Revolution: such would be as idle and profitless as a discussion of the rights and wrongs of the Revolution in the times of Charles I, or that in the time of James II, or of the stirring times of 1715 and 1745. We in Canada are justly proud of the United Empire Loyalists who knowing that they were not enjoying the rights of free-born Englishmen, yet believing that these rights might, and in the course of time would, be vindicated in a peaceful and constitutional way, sacrificed everything that they might keep their faith to their liege Lord and "passed into exile, leaving all behind except their honour."
Not drooping like poor fugitives they came In exodus to our Canadian wilds But full of heart and hope, with head erect And fearless eye, victorious in defeat.
So, too, many of us glory in an ancestor who was a Cavalier and gave up everything for his King, a Jacobite who accompanied James II into exile in 1688, a Rebel who followed the son of King James II in 1715 or fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie in "the '45".' But we do not forget the precious privileges made secure by the Roundhead, the Bill of Rights which the Jacobite would have none of; and if the House of Hanover is not quite so picturesque as that of the Stuarts, it is less rapacious and much more reliable-there are few who do not recognize that the "wee German Lairdie" was not so bad after all.
To return to our subject: Whatever other result followed, by the American Revolution, the Old British Empire was rent in twain, never to be reinstated. A new era followed. While for a time treated by many as a paradox" it has now become almost a commonplace that it was the conquest of Canada that rendered the American Revolution possible, and, consequently, Canada may in that sense, claim to be the birthplace of the New British Empire in which the principle of Local Self-government has been triumphantly vindicated and proved to be the sheet-anchor of the British Constitution.
Relieved from the fear of French aggression from the north, the American Colonists took the only course open to them unless they were content to be inferiors-and the result is history.
The Independence of the American Colonies was a bitter cup for British pride to drain,' but a lesson was taught not wholly understood for a long time but never wholly ignored. Peoples of our breed will govern themselves whether for weal or for woe, for well or for ill, and never since has a Colony showing itself capable of self-government and asking for it, been refused such measure of self-government as it was capable of.
As it was in Canada that the death blow to the Old British Empire was struck, so it was in Canada that the New British Empire had its birth. The new British Empire is an interesting example-the most interesting example-of political evolution, the world has ever seen. It is a plant of slow growth, having its roots deep in the great principles of liberty and self-government established in the Old Land by the struggles often accompanied by blood and agony and death, lasting for generations from long before Magna Carta to long after the Bill of Rights.
Not all at once could full effect be given to these principles any more than could full self-government be granted to the lad-but the progress has been all in the right direction.
For many years in Canada it was necessary-it was right-that the Mother Country should have a Governor here who actually governed-a real "gubernator" to control the helm of State-her money was freely spent to enable the new country to live and function, and her arms protected her child from foreign aggression.
Taking Upper Canada as our theme, it never was free from the threat of aggression from the South until the War of 1812 taught those in that land that it would not be an easy prey-as had been confidently expected.
It is not, I think, a mere coincidence that it was at the close of that absurd and ruthless war, "Madison's War", that Upper Canada began to pay her way, and the wish for self-government began to make itself manifest. The agitation culminating in the Rebellion of 1837 was not understood at Home-the Rebellion itself came as a surprise and a shock to a Government and a people who believed and had every reason to believe that the Colonists as a whole were content and that those who sought and advocated Responsible Government were a handful of American emissaries and disgruntled Canadians desiring union with the United States. The Rebellion was foredoomed to failure once it proposed to dissolve the tie of allegiance to the monarch in the Old Land-union with our fellow subjects under the British Crown is the one thing upon which we Canadians always have insisted, do insist and always will insist.
"The Flag that braved a thousand years The Battle and the Breeze" has been, is and must continue to be our boast. And "Our glorious Semper Eadem, The Banner of our pride."
But that very Rebellion shook the complacency of the authorities at Westminster: Lord Durham's Report completed the enlightenment and the union of 1840 was the result, accompanied by a large measure of self-government. A little control continued to be exercised from across the sea, but that little became less and had practically disappeared when the Dominion of Canada was formed in 1867.
The Dominion of Canada was a Canadian product--the work of Canadian statesmen--the British North America Act, while in form an Imperial Statute, was at the time recognized by those in authority, Parliament or Ministry, as a Treaty between those who were to be the "citizens" of the new State.
The Dominion solved the problem of many separate political entities subject to the one Sovereign, acting upon the advice of as many Ministries, each responsible to its own people, and so it formed the model for the New British Empire-as the Ministry of Ontario has no responsibility as to the affairs of Quebec, the Ministry of Quebec no responsibility as to the affairs of Ontario but yet the Ministry of Ontario and the Ministry of Quebec alike a Ministry of the same King.
This conception made its way somewhat slowly-even after Responsible Government was granted to Canada, and the Canadian Administration was considered responsible to the Canadian people alone, it was for a time considered not improper but the reverse for the GovernorGeneral to exercise "a strong extra-parliamentary influence on legislation particularly when it touched imperial policies." I am informed by a fully competent authority that American college students are led to believe that he still wields this power. This is an outworn practice: a recent Governor-General publicly said that he was one man in Canada that had no right to have any politics. This was, of course, simply stating in striking language that the position of the Governor-General was, in Canada, analogous with that of the King in Britain; it did not mean that he had no right to have an opinion on public matters, but that he had the constitutional duty to defer to his constitutional advisers when they had obtained or could obtain the approbation of the majority of the Representatives of the people, and the constitutional duty to refrain from expressing dissent from them publicly. The Governor-General is the personal Representative of His Majesty in the Dominion, and is subject to the same constitutional limitations in fact and in constitutional usage. That the Lieutenant-Governor is the personal Representative of His Majesty in the Province is equally clear; this was decided more than a quarter of a century ago by the judicial Committee of the Privy Council (see Liquidators of the Maritime Bank of Canada v. Receiver-General of New Brunswick, (1892) A.C. 437; this was again expressly stated in The Initiative and Referendum Act (1912) A.C. 935). This moreover, is necessarily so because by the British North America Act, it is provided that "The Executive Government and authority of and over Canada is . . . vested in the Queen": and it necessarily follows that he who exercises the "Executive Government" in Canada or any part of it must represent the Sovereign.
While this is quite clear and always has been, the view long prevailed that while the Governor did, in theory, represent the Sovereign, yet in his official acts, he was subject to the direction of the Advisers of the Sovereign at Westminster, in fact. This view meant that Canadians in the last result were subject to their fellow-subjects across the Sea, and were not self-governing.
This view, being still theoretically the law, gradually fell into a state of innocuous desuetude in practice-the insistence of Sir John A. Macdonald in 1878 on financial independence, the protest of Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1887 on Canada not being bound by treaties to which she was not a party, the formation of the Colonial Council in 1897-and the significant change of name to Imperial Council in 1907, the War Cabinet in 1917, all have had their effect; the Imperial Council in 1296, when it was declared that the Governor-General 'vas the Representative of His Majesty and not of the Imperial Administration, but expressed what had for years been the fact, wholly recognized both at Westminster and elsewhere throughout the Empire-the King is a constitutional monarch, bound by the constitution to follow the advice of His Ministers responsible to the people. Living in Britain, he has a Ministry responsible to the British people; not being able to live in Canada, he had a Representative here who is bound by the constitution to follow the advice of the King's Ministry here, responsible to the people of Canada. Of course he has a perfect right, if he thinks his advisers wrong, to ask the people to decide, to send them to seek the suffrages of the people, but in the long run, it is the people of Canada and the persons who have the confidence of the people of Canada who must decide.
Considerable discussion has taken place as to whether Canada can be called a Nation; but the answer must depend upon the definition given to the word "Nation"; and I do not see any hope of an agreement upon that point.
A distinction, however, must be drawn between the technically legal conceptions and the practical state of matters. Beyond any question, in law, the Parliament at Westminister can legislate effectively for Canada; it can change the name, the constitution, the international status of Canada, at will-it may say that there shall be no more Canadian legislatures, no Canadian Governments no Canadian Electors, that Canada shall be governed by a benevolent autocrat sitting in Edinburghand it is no more likely to do anything of the kind than is the King to take the government of the British Isles into his own hands.
I have sometimes been asked by a sympathising American friend'°-and who so sympathising as a real American nurtured on Fourth of July speeches--"Are you not afraid that you may lose your liberties by the action of England r"-it is always "England", no American has ever heard of Britain-My answer has always been "Are you not afraid that you are to have a full-blooded Negro, who cannot read or write, for a President r"
So too in International Law, Canada is a "Dependency" of Great Britain, and, if the point came up in my Court at Osgoode I must so decide as a matter of law-just as she was when in 1887 Laurier was unable to carry into effect his "British Preference", because, by a treaty made by the Mother Country, Germany and Belgium were to have as favourable a tariff as any other country, in Britain "and her dependencies."
In form, the Governor-General can veto every Bill; in form, he is a self- advised ruler-and no one trembles: the Lieutenant Governor can be a local tyrant-if either were to attempt anything of the kind, there would be no rebellion-there would be an examination by an insanity expert.
What, then, in fact, and leaving aside the forms, some of them going back to the times of William the Conqueror -what then, in fact, is a "Canadian Citizen"?
He is first, last and all the time, a subject of the King of the British World, a part of whose realm is called "the British Dominions beyond the Seas" from the British Isles. The expression "British Dominion" has since the time of the American Revolution changed in its connotation: in olden days, a "British Dominion" was conceived of as a "Dominion the possession of the people of the British Isles"-shortly, a "Dominion of Britain": now the meaning is fundamentally different; it is a "Dominion, the possession of a British people, of a people in the allegiance of him who is the King of all the British folk, not simply of those who happen to reside in the British Isles. As by the very constitution of Canada, the King is the Sovereign of this "Dominion", every Canadian is his subject, and without violence done to constitution, he cannot desire any severance of the existing union of the whole British world, the so-called British Empire, brought about by the common allegiance to a common Sovereign. He, then, is and must be a loyal British subject. Recognizing that there is such a solidarity in the British world, the Canadian citizen must recognize hl,,, duty to come to the help of any other part of the Empire, in time of danger or distress-what happened in 1914 may well be repeated. But it is not alone war which may hurt our Empire, there are exigencies of trade, (tariffs are sometimes, not improperly, called a species of war), and it is not unreasonable to expect that our own folk should receive consideration.
But withal, the Canadian citizen will bear in mind that Canada has been given to him to rule, to care for, to make great in the greatness of righteousness; he cannot and will not throw that burden upon-give up that right to any other people however near and dear to him, however skilled in government by tradition and practice; to him much has been given and much is to be required. This will not be done by belittling Canada or Canadians; we may and should profit by the knowledge and experience of others, especially of our brethren in the Empire, but when all is said, we must take the responsibility of managing our own country.
These, then, I conceive to be the two principles upon which the Canadian citizen governs his public conduct--first "a British subject I was born, a British subject I will die": and second, Canada is to be managed by as well as for Canadians-perfect loyalty to the Crown and perfect self-government. It is upon these principles that Canada has grown and grown great-upon which she must grow greater and greater; and which will continue, please God, in aeternum.
Live for your Flag! O builders of the North! In precious blood its Red is dyed, its White is Honour's sign! In weal or ruth, its Blue Truth; its might, the Power divine ! Live for your Flag, O builders of the North! Canada! Canada! in God, go forth!NOTES
In view of a misunderstanding in some quarters, but wholly unexpected by me, of my meaning in a previous address upon Canadian Citizenship, I think it necessary to state most unreservedly and explicitly that in nothing I say, have I the remotest intention to reflect upon the conduct of any party or of any person in public life, now or in the past; I am not conscious of stating anything as to the Constitution or Constitutional practice that has not become the merest commonplace, accepted by every political party and by every one who has given any thought to the subject. The only thing in this or the previous address that is or was novel is the application of Calvin's Case to -the position of the people of the British world and especially of Canada.
(2) Since this subject was selected by me for an address to the Empire Club, I have noticed that very strong language has been used in at least one quarter against the use of the expression "British Commonwealth of Nations", and "The British Empire" is insisted upon as the only proper designation. It is largely a matter of taste which, if either, expression is used; but to make it a question of patriotism savours of absurdity. The Prince of Wales and Stanley Baldwin both use the former terminology, and possibly they will not be accused of want of patriotism or a want of due appreciation for the niceties of language. It is, of course, true that the word "Commonwealth" does not accurately express the collection of peoples constituting the British world; but, then, neither does the word "Empire", which connotes an Emperor-and yet "Empire" was used of England alone as long ago as the times of Henry VII. In the nature of things -and especially in the nature of manwe shall never be through with quarreling over words; but so long as we understand the substance underlying the terminology, no great harm will be done. Super-loyalty exceeding that of the King and the Lord Chancellor, we shall always have with us; and, after all, it adds to the pleasure of life; poetry we must have as well as dull prose.
(3) This "Empire" was the "Empire" of the United Statesthe word "Empire" being used in the sense of the legislation of Henry VIII, i.e., absolute power, subject to no other on earth. Our "Empire" began with such a connotation; the word has now half-a-score.
(4) There are many references to the Case in the Legal Historians, and the writers on International Law; but its full import from a Constitutional point of view has not, so far as I have seen, been appreciated, and certainly not fully discussed.
One somewhat curious and interesting reference, not noticed by any of the authors whom I have read, is found in the well-known Epigrammata of Johannes Audeonus, John Owen, a Welshman, born about 1560, educated at Oxford and spending most of his life in teaching. He began writing Epigrams in Latin as early as 1596, and continued the practice until near death; he died in London, 1622, and was buried at St. Paul's Cathedral. He left more than a thousand Epigrams in Latin which have been frequently reprinted, my own edition being that of 1810 He was an ardent Royalist being almost sycophantic in his attitude to King James; for example, he thus addresses him in his Lib. VI, Ep. 2:
Ad Jacobus, Magnae Britanniae, etc.
Regem Opt. Max.
Omnia formidant, formicanturque tyranni: Semper habet comitem vis metuenda metum, Cur metuae, causae nihil est, Rex maxime regum Optime Rex, causae est cur metunre nihil." Tyrants are afraid in everything and are feared in everything; Power that is to be feared, has ever Fear as a companion. There is no cause for fear with you, Greatest King among Kings, Best of Kings, there is no cause for fear.
His reference to the Case of the Postnati in Lib. VI, Ep. 95 :-
"Placitum Anno 1609, Inter Rob, Calvin Actorem, & Joan, Bingley, 8; Richard Griffin, Roes.
CVm post natorum lis est agitata, Robertus Jacobi vicit Filium: Omen habet. Quod fuerit reus Anglicus alter, Wallicus alter, Scotus utrumque Actor vicerit omen habet, Omen amo: Britones jungent jan pectora palmis; Non erit in partes insula secta duas Post-nati natorum, and qui nescentur ab illis Crex pastoris erunt unius unus. Amen.
I.e., the Action in the year 1609, between Robert Calvin,
Plaintiff, and John Bingley, and Richard Griffin, Defendants.
When the litigation concerning the Postnati was carried on,
The son of James, was the victor: this is significant That one defendant should be English, the other Welsh,
And a Scots plaintiff should vanquish both is significant I like the omen; Britons now join, heart and hand;
There will not be an Island divided into two parts. The Postnati and those who shall be born of them
Will be one Flock of one Shepherd. Amen."
The last verse is an echo of S. John, X. 16:-"and there shall be one fold and one shepherd". It shows very clearly the view that was taken by the supporters of the King's policy of the effect of the judgment. This, the logical result seems not to have had much if any effect upon the course of Constitutional Law in England or the Empire.
51 use the word "American" for "a citizen of the United States", without any intention to hurt the feelings or sensibilities of those who resent what they conceive to be the appropriation or the word by such citizens, they saying that they are also American- although I have not met any who are willing to be themselves called "Americans". I use the appellation, as it is that usual in international writings, including all from 1374 to the present time and as understood, if not concurred in by everybody-in the same way as I have spoken of the Church of England in Canada as a Protestant Church, as it is so denominated in the Statutes, and without any intention to interfere in any ecclesiastical discussion.
(6) At the meeting of the American Bar Association with the Canadian Bar Association the guests of the English Bar, at Westminster Hall, in 1924, Lord Haldane was the speaker.
(7) Some, at least, of my people followed the Old Pretender; as to "Bonnie Prince Charlie"' while some of them were loyal to the existing monarch, two were hanged for supporting the Stewart in the claim to the Crown.
(8) The French Minister, Vargennes, gave specific warning that the retention of Canada by Great Britain was certain to be followed by the independence of the American Colonies, his warning was laughed at. Benjamin Franklin in his celebrated "Canada Pamphlet", which probably had more to do with the retention of Canada than any other single agency, laughed at the idea of the Colonies being able to agree upon anything let alone independence of the Mother Country. These are now, however, old world tales.
(9) Not by any means to all the people of Britain-no few of them sympathised with the Colonies from the beginning throughout the War; moreover a very careful study by Eunice Read in "The American Historical Review" for April, 1929; British Public Opinion of the Peace with America in 1762, makcs it quite clear that many in the Old Land were glad of the separation for business reasons. It is not to be forgotten that even Disraeli complained of the wretched Colonies hanging a dead weight on the neck of Britain, while Gladstone at one period, at least, of his career was of much the same opinion. Are we not too apt to forget that the New British Empire is of very modern growth?
(10) One example of the utter inability of the ordinary American to understand our constitutional position will suffice: Less than two years ago I was sitting at the table of a former Ambassador from the United States to Germany near an American whose name is a household word both in the United States and Canada. He said to me "Why do Canadian hotels refuse to accept English money?" I said:"Why should they not? English hotels will not accept Canadian money". "But", he said, "don't you belong to England?" Then, when I explained our true constitutional position, he said as incredulously as courtesy would admit: "You will have great difficulty in persuading American citizens of that". I confess that I said: "It's a matter of perfect indifference to me whether American citizens believe it or not. Canada will, no doubt, manage to worry along without the appreciation of any neighbour, even the United States". See my Article The Imperial Conference of 1926 and Canada, "The Constitutional Review", Washington, D.C,. January, 1928.
A hearty vote of thanks was awarded to Dr. Riddell.