Imperial Plans in Education
Publication:
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 30 Jan 1919, p. 77-98


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Imperial Plans in Education


The teaching of imperial history. The true purpose of education. How history differs from other subjects. The importance of imagination. Reference to Gibbon's "Autobiography" in which he talks about the cramping effect of the usual routine in the teaching of classics. Instilling interest in the new world. Being driven backward to seek the roots of the new in the old. The great need for a teaching that shall have as its first object not the filling of the memory with facts, but the kindling of enthusiasm and the effort to perpetuate a temper. Pride in the Empire newborn within us. Seeley's thesis that the greatness of England so far from being expressed by the Colonies was, on the contrary, due to the Colonies and particularly to India. The working out of that broad thesis, and its results upon the minds of those who have had leadership in Old Country politics. The proof of the result lying in the change of view that can be traced between the eighties and nineties with regard to the dominions. The attitude towards the Colonies on the part of England in three main periods, with a discussion of each: those centuries, from the time of Elizabeth down to 1839, when the idea prevailed that the Colonies existed for the benefit of the motherland; the period during which autonomous constitutions were worked out in the Colonies, and the variety of these constitutions is indicative party of anterior conditions and partly of the existence of other nationalities; the third period of colonial development the one in which we are now living, marked by the granting of liberty to the Colonies, the one great means of binding the Colonies more closely to the Motherland. This period of study something different from the study of Colonial History, and to include not only an account of the self-governing dependencies, but also the splendid story of India. An examination of the history and situation of India. How what we call an Empire is not an Empire at all in the ordinary sense of the word. Characteristics of the British Empire and how it contrasts with other empires. An examination of the structure and administration of the British Empire. The element of trade and how it binds the Dominions together. Constitutional questions. An examination and review of the issue of the dependency and autonomy of the Dominions. Sir Joseph Ward's scheme, and responses to it with regard to representation of the Dominions within the Empire. The strongest criticism of the scheme of Sir Joseph Ward, as with all the schemes of Imperial Federation by means of a Parliament sitting in London, coming from the Dominions themselves. A review and discussion of that criticism. The difficulty of creating a uniform policy covering all the various issues which might arise, due to the fact that the history of the rise and growth of the various dominions is so different. Evidence, through the negotiations at the Peace Conference, that the Dominions are going to be recognized as self governing nations, entitled to their representation at the Table not because of their origin, but because of their potency as states. Ways to keep the Empire alive. A suggestion for the establishment in one or other of the Canadian Universities of a chair in Imperial History. How to ensure that succeeding generations will know and understand the Empire.