IMPERIAL PLANS IN EDUCATION
AN ADDRESS BY DR. BRUCE TAYLOR
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
January 30, 1919.
PRESIDENT STAPELLS : We have heard quite a lot during the past three or four years about the Zeppelin menace, the submarine menace, and the German menace. Happily these menaces are now things of the past. We are beginning to hear a little about the Bolshevistic menace, and wondering just how we are going to cope with it. But there is another menace we have in Canada, and have had since its earliest days; I do not know that we are taking any steps to cope with it-I do not know of any-I mean the Scotch menace. (Laughter.) His Lordship reminds me that we have disposed of one Scotch menace, meaning of course the government's action in September, 1917 (Laughter); that truly has been handled more or less effectively. But I do not mean that menace. You know that politically, ecclesiastically, industrially and academically, Scotchmen have been able to commandeer all the ,good positions in Canada for many years past (Hear, hear.) and if they have not a Scotchman in this country to handle a position they get a seat-wamer, so to speak, to hold it down till they get the man from Scotland to fill it. (Laughter.) I need only refer to Brown, Mackenzie, Sir John Macdonald , Sir Mortimer Clark, Sir John Gibson, Sir John McKendrie, Bishop Strachan and Archbishop McRae and Archbishop Matheson. Indus-
Reverend Dr. Bruce Taylor is a brilliant leader in the educational life of Canada. As Principal of Queen's University, Kingston, he will have ample opportunity to display his practical business ability and his broad educational outlook. Few men have a broader vision of Canada's future or better opportunity of assisting to mould it.
trially we think of Lord Strathcona, Mount Stephen, the late Sir William McDonald; and then at the head of our great universities, Sir Daniel Wilson, Sir William Paterson, and Principal Grant of Queens. So you see that my statement is fairly correct. There are a great many others, and I could go on ad lib, but I think I had just better stop. I am reminded of a story of Dr. Harper, of a bishop and his rector who said, "Well, you know, My Lord, there is a little Scotch in me," and the bishop, with a twinkle in his eye, retorted. "Well, you know vicar, on one occasion I had a little Scotch in me, but it produced altogether a more comfortable and happy feeling in me than yours does in you." (Laughter.) Now, we have not a little Scotch in Canada; we have got a lot of Scotch-of a kind-the right kind (Laughter.) and I am glad of it; and just as our Scotchmen in the early days were pioneers in our national progress, so it is with the Scotch of today. Our distinguished guest is a pioneer of a great Imperial education plan, of which we are to hear today, and if you will permit me I will introduce him with the words used on the announcement card, for I like them very much, and I think I would like to emphasize them:-"Dr. Taylor is a brilliant leader in the education of Canada, with a broad vision of our country's future. With an intensely practical business ability he had already stamped his influence upon the spirit of education in Canada before he had left the Old Country. His experience at the front has given him a rather unique opportunity of getting very close to what is best in our Canadian life. He has taken up his work at Queen's University in the light of the larger principles of today. Canada is to be honored with a broad, statesman-like plan of education which is quite unique in its character, wonderful in-its possibilities, not theoretical as an academic proposition, but definitely linked with the industry and life of the community,, one of the most outstanding statements of policy that has been outlined in Canada or the Empire." I have pleasure in introducing Dr. Taylor of Queen's University.
DR. BRUCE TAYLOR: Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, I suppose one cannot help being Scotch, but I will tell you what we have all got; and that is a certain faculty of loving all races; and when I heard the kind of thing that the chairman has just let loose I began to wonder if this is really the genuine potato at all. There was a man at Renfrew, where I came from, who had a kaleyard, and he was very much bothered with the depredations of a hootie craw-the corn crow-and. he got hold of a rat gin and put it out in his kale yard and covered it over and put some seed on top of it, and got his walking stick, and got behind the door to watch events. By and by the bird, which had been watching him all the time, came down, and it hopped, and it hopped, and hopped right into the trap, which closed upon it, and the old fellow ran from behind the door with the stick raised, crying, "Ah, ah, my mon, I hae ye noo," and he began to beat the bird, and away it went, and he looked at the bird and then at the trap, and there were its two legs sticking in the trap, and he said, "Well, my mon, ye can laugh at me noo, but wait till ye come to sit down." (Laughter.) Now, gentlemen, it is the process of sitting down, not the kind of inflation I got from the Chairman, that amazes me. What I want to talk about is:
THE TEACHING OF IMPERIAL HISTORY
As an educationalist, who has found his sphere of work in the Province of Ontario, I suppose I ought to have a system; and yet I find myself, the older I grow, more and more a rebel against system in education. The desire for uniformity runs counter to the facts as we find them. Each individual with whom we have to deal varies so widely from everyone else that an attempt to put a whole class, whether of children in school, or of students in the University, through exactly the same mill, is only to lessen originality and to confound the instilling of a certain number of facts with that awakening which is the true purpose of education. In the exact sciences a good grounding is everything.
But far too much of our education proceeds upon the assumption that all the subjects of study are going to be carried on by the student after he leaves his place of education, and that therefore, while he is in the teacher's hands, it is necessary to spend a great part of the time upon things regarded as fundamental. That may be true of Mathematics and in some particulars true of languages, nor will you think that a Seotchman ever quarrels with a sound foundation in knowledge, but when the method is applied to the teaching of History the result is to centre attention upon those things which are largely antiquarian and to leave the imagination unkindled as to the splendour of the History that is now being written. Gibbon in his "Autobiography," makes some reference to the cramping effect of the usual routine in the teaching of classics. Why should a school boy be drilled almost solely in the reading of that old bore Cicero? The answer made to that question is that the style of Cicero is such splendid rhetoric. But, as Gibbon points out, we are not all going to use Latin as a means of communication, and whether or not we are afterwards able to write eloquent Latin is a' matter, with the vast majority of us, of no importance whatsoever. It is like keeping a youth reading Macaulay and forbidding him Carlyle and Meredith and Kipling. What is of importance is that we should have sufficient interest in the history, and such a working knowledge of the language as will allow us to sit down with a Latin book and read the things that interest us. Such was Gibbon's own method of education and the result we see in every page of the "Decline and Fall." He had read the out-of-the-way things in Roman History, the interesting things. His knowledge of classics was the knowledge of the man who saw continuity in the history, not the knowledge of a mere pedagogue. And in your experience and mine, as we look back over our school days, how often were we taken over the period, from the Union of the Crowns to the death of that singularly uninspiring person, Queen Anne. The eighteenth century, in which England was expanding her boundary all over the world, was practically left alone; while, as to modern history, if we learned anything of it at all it was through our own reading of Justin McCarthy and not through any efforts of our teachers. The two great supports of this narrow round of systematized knowledge are the matriculation examinations of the Universities and the lethargy of High school instructors. The grind of instilling a certain number of facts tells most speedily upon the man who has to undertake it, and, unless he has an alert mind, he accepts the situation and confines his study and his teaching to those narrow periods that the impracticable University prescribes. He comes to the point at which he sees that he "has his work in hand," which is also the point at which his mind begins to die. Again I seek to guard myself against being supposed to advocate the superficial: I only want the varied and the imaginative. It is, of course, of vital importance for the lawyer that he know what the Norman conquest stands for, and anyone who will busy himself with the history of the Province of Quebec must understand what the system was which was reproduced in those seigniories which line the banks of the St. Lawrence and conferred such vast privileges upon the few. Still, knowledge of this kind is more or less specialized, and if our young people are to capture, for their instruction and inspiration, the lessons that the recent war has to teach, they must be led to see how our Empire has grown, the ideals that it has stood for, and the inevitability of the conflict that we have just left behind us. In teaching, up to this time, the old world has been counted so interesting that the new world has been left alone, but in truth the new world is so interesting that if there is to be any one-sidedness in the matter it is the new world to which the attention of our students should be most chiefly drawn. One may learn much of the old without being stimulated to trace its development in the new, whereas one can hardly learn much of the new without being driven backward to seek its roots in the old. A somewhat similar unreality has spread itself over the teaching of Scriptural history. The idea implicit in the teaching which a great many of us received was that in that Old Testament story there was a divine providence at work that was altogether peculiar to the period and not to be expected in any subsequent age. So the element of magic was always thought of as entering into it, and the Bible story was separated from us by the feeling that these things happened in another range of existence in which different principles were operative. It is to be hoped that a better type of thing has now come into being, and that our students are urged to realize that the history of today is moved by exactly the same conditions that ordered it in the centuries before Christ, and that, if we only had eyes to see it, the newspapers of these last few years, with that wonderful story of hope and distress, of hope and of again distress-of distress but never of despair-are a vindication of right and of God more wonderful than anything that the teaching of history, sacred or profane, has ever before exhibited.
The greatest things that the world has seen have been wrought out under the eyes of us, plain prosaic men that we are. The greatest heroism that the world has ever known has been shown by men, not trained to the profession of war, but gathered from the prairies, the Universities, the offices, and the business streets of our cities. An age that thought itself materialistic beyond all that had gone before it has proved that it can be moved by ideals which, translated into words, it would have scoffed at. As a people we have been afraid of fine phrases and of vast idealistic conceptions. We have distrusted oratory. It has seemed to us to have been linked with unreality. We have been inclined to think that enthusiasm was bad form. We held it not unnatural for the Frenchman to talk about "liberty, equality, fraternity," about "glory" and "victory," but our tongues were tied when we strove to utter these great phrases. But the reality behind the words we have striven for, and have seen it brought to fruition. It is time that we put into phrase and teaching some of the conceptions that have lain behind the growth of our Empire, for we have been so busy making history that we have not had time to stop and think of the ideals through which our history has been made.
There is a 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. Nor is this teaching-to be identified with jingoism. It is not the spread-eagleism with which some friends of ours are familiar. There is here, in this Empire of ours, somehow or other, a result that is without parallel, an effect which has no analogy in the history of any other race. How has this thing come to be? What are the qualities in the race that has created it? Has it been the result of an adventurous temper? Or is it because the younger sons, denied their share in the paternal inheritance, have thrust out to the ends of the earth to create a patrimony for themselves? Or has it been an accident that a nation which loved the sea and counted everything that floated human, sent its sons faring forth in cockle-shells to a land when there were still great spaces to be occupied? Whatever it be, it is a story the origin of which is well worth inquiring into, and, wherever you touch it, it is full of the human, the picturesque, and the brave. It has been the work of the statesman at home, of the adventurer, the explorer, the planter, the black-sheep, the saint. It is history, biography, discovery, sheer greed, glowing missionary enthusiasm, accident, design, sacrifice, attainment. Nothing in the wide world can be quite as interesting as a study of this growth of the Empire. Nothing can have greater effect in strengthening the bonds of Empire than the keeping alive a temper that must have been inherent in our stock.
The belief that we have here something to kindle our pride is comparatively new, not because the Empire is new, but because pride in the Empire is newborn within us. When many of us here were young the idea was largely prevalent in the Old Country that the Colonies were a source of weakness and not of strength, and that what was to be looked for was not their closer approximation to the British demesne, but their inevitable separation or even absorption into other nationalities, geographically their neighbors It is difficult to say whether a book creates the frame of mind or whether a general frame of mind comes to make itself articulate in a book. But Seeley's "Expansion of England," published in 1883, is perhaps more than anything else responsible for the change of attitude. That was, indeed, a seminal book, and it was speedily recognized to be such. Men going up for the Indian Civil Service examinations in the eighties knew that it was essential they should be acquainted with its thesis. I do not know who the examiner of that period was, but the men who went out in past years to administer India were indoctrinated with its views. We read much in these days of the historical teaching that lead the German nation off upon the paths of aggression which have proved to be the road to undoing. Seeley, though you hear less of him, was just as powerful in his own way as Treitschke. We also have had our great teachers, but there has been with us an unconscious discrimination against the man whose work was the sowing of ideals. Seeley's general view was 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. That broad thesis, worked out with immense knowledge and great literary grace, has been boundless in its results upon the minds of those who have had leadership in Old Country politics. The proof of that result lies in the change of view tat you can trace between the eighties and nineties with regard to the dominions.
The attitude towards the Colonies on the part of England has three main periods
1. There were those centuries from the time of Elizabeth down to 1830, roughly speaking, when the idea prevailed that the Colonies existed for the benefit of the motherland. They were ruled from London by an official who was often completely ignorant of the state of things with which he had to deal, in whose administration there was no continuity, who came to his work with the presumption that those who dwelt in England across the seas were of a lower social order and of an inferior mental capacity. These colonists must be treated, it was held, as children who would not, or could not, grow up. Warnings enough came to the Colonial office that it was not wise to test the temper of those men who looked back with love to the Old Country. Even the war of Independence, with its staggering results, was not a sufficient lesson of the foolishness of endeavouring to control, as though they were incapable of self-government, the sons of England in the Colonies of England. Let us remember that the change of attitude on the part of the Old Country was due to the growth of Liberal sentiment. Lord Durham's report was manifestly the beginning of a second, better, stage of things, harmonizing in time as in spirit with the Reform movement in England. The reception which that report met with, and the political extinction that it meant for Lord Durham are indicative of the strength of the old view which thought of the relationship between parent land and dependency as only that of the schoolmaster and the pupil. From that time on, however, it came to be realized that the only way in which the great Colonies could be handled was by giving them a large measure of self-determination. There has been in recent years the endeavour to connect the growth of imperialism in England with the teaching of the British Conservative party. No such broad conclusion can be drawn. This has been no matter of party but the utterance of a people, and no man with any historical sense will allow an invidious generalization regarding party to pass in this connection so honoring to all parties. "Party" in the old land has always been confined to home politics not foreign. In this matter of Empire building, "everybody's doing it." The beginning of the impulse, according to the dominions liberty in the handling of their own affairs, was due to that same temper which produced the Reform Bill, and awakened new hopes in the working class. But then it may be asked is it not the case that the attitude we find reflected in John Bright, John Stuart Mill, Goldwin Smith, that belief that the great Colonies were almost bound to separate from their allegiance to the motherland-was it not the case that this teaching was Liberal in its origin? Yes, indeed it was. But it was a not unnatural result of the principles which first of all gave liberty to the Colonies. During the forties and the fifties there was not merely the expectation that the Colonies would separate, but there was almost the hope of it. They were thought of as an encumbrance, as the invitation to all kinds of international disputes. The distance from the centre, the impossibility of getting news, save at interval of months, the likelihood of all kinds of misunderstandings, the mere replacing of the old idea of control with the new thought of freedom; all this made the generous administration of the dependencies difficult. It was maintained that Britain would be stronger if she were not responsible for these headstrong children. They might go to the devil but they certainly had to go somewhere.
2. This was the period during which autonomous constitutions were worked out, in broad outline at all events, in the Colonies, and the variety of these constitutions is indicative partly of anterior conditions and partly of the existence of other nationalities. In Canada, for instance, the residuary power was left in the Federal Government. In Australia, where the ideas peculiar to the United States were largely followed, residuary power was left in the several states. The tangled story of South Africa, where there was a constant changing of policy on the part of the Old Country, reached some reasonable conclusion only at the end of the Boer War, by which self-government was given, when the guns had hardly time to cool, to conquered peoples; and the results of that magnificant act of Statesmanship have been evident enough in the recent struggle.
3. The third period of colonial development is the one in which we are now living, and it is this that is so well 'worth teaching to little children in every country school as well as to students in every university. It is time that we did a little flag waving and allowed ourselves occasionally to shout. We only do it once in a life-time-on an Armistice Day! This period is marked by the granting of liberty to the Colonies, and the policy was, although the statesmanship of those earlier days could not see it, the one great means of binding the Colonies more closely to the Motherland. The great free dependencies, because they were free, refused to separate. When the Old Country ceased to press its point of view its point of view was at once recognized. There came a new era of friendship and sympathy, a new loyalty, not of the letter but of the spirit. The Boer war is in one aspect a record of somewhat monotonous failure, a chapter in military history that we are not any too proud of. The indirect effects of that struggle are much more important than the direct. It may be that our repeated defeats on the field taught our generals where the British forces were defective both in leading and in material. But the bold act of statesmanship by which two Republican Confederations, but a few months ago our bitter foes were given autonomy, was a lesson, not to the British Empire only but to the world, of what imperialism means. It was an admission of the fact that unless these distant dependencies were held by affection they could not be held at all. The amazing spectacle that we see today is this, that while we all hope for a league of nations which shall embrace the whole civilized world and put an end forever to the possibility of war, we already have a league of nations within a league. And this inner league is held together not by commercial treaties or fiscal devices, or central government control, but by that very thing to which we seem to be unable to give utterance, affection and sentiment. The lion and her whelps! And the whelps grown strong like to remember the fine relationship.
A study such as this must be something different from the study of Colonial History, because it must include not only an account of the self-governing dependencies, but also that splendid story of India. In the Colonies we are dealing with native races that seem to be bound to disappear before the advance of civilization, or with peoples which, while they may not disappear, do not seem to be able to rise to our own ideas of civilization. The problem of India is different. Here we hold our place as conquerors. The question is whether we ever shall be able to abandon this direct control. In India we are dealing with ancient civilizations which show no signs of yielding their special characteristics, with ancient law which we accept as the basis of our administration, with ancient philosophies that may have something to teach us.
In India, too, the climatic conditions are different from those of the great dependencies. The white man does not go to India to stay there. He marries and if his children are to be kept in physical and moral health they must be educated in a cooler land. The administration of India has had no parallel in the world's history for devotion, for ability, for power in handling sympathetically subject races. But this has been done by men who never expected to make their home there, who gave to that great country only their working years, and looked forward to a retiral from service at an age when, in other climates, men feel that they are only reaching their highest powers. The ruling race in India is an alien element. It is a story which makes the blood run quicker. It is a record of the glory and youth of men who carried a great load. Every emergency has its hero to meet it. The Mutiny threw up the Lawrences, and Edwards, and Nicholson, and many another whose deeds are like the story of ancient days. It is a service that claims father and son, father and son, through many generations. For probity, for sympathy, for talent, for breadth of view, it is a section of the world's story that has no parallel. But no one who takes a long view of things will fail to see that the conditions in India can be but temporary. As yet, when only a small proportion of the population can read and write, it is premature to think of giving self-government to those peoples of so many different races. To abandon India just now would mean to leave it, not to any Constitutional government, but to a terrific struggle of race against race, of mountaineer against the man of the plains. And yet, the Montagu-Chelmsford report, and the vast body of discussion the report has awakened, shows clear to all that here again the ideal is before us of free subjects, handling their own affairs, held only by the ties of affection, to a country that they cannot call the motherland but must allow to have been an insuperably wise and sympathetic guide.
It is thus quite evident that what we call an Empire is not an Empire at all in the ordinary sense of the word. Rome was an Empire: for there all the provinces were directly subsidiary to the central Government. The German Empire was an Empire. It had its federal condition of things in Europe, and its colonies over seas were but sources of income, natives terrorized by a policy they could not understand, that policy itself administered by officials who were merely the transmittors, with cruelty peculiar to themselves, of telegraphic instructions. But what we call the British Empire has within it every kind of experiment in government and colonization. In India and Egypt the rule of the British Parliament is sovereign. The variety of races, the long course of oppression, the series of conquests, the debris of past struggles make it impossible at present to count these dependencies, however much they may respect the rule which has given them peace and prosperity, as subjects of immediate self-determination. In other parts of the Empire sovereignty is maintained in fashion so different as in the administration of a Crown Colony such as Newfoundland, or as in the sympathetic free-and-easy handling of the native in some Protectorate such as that of Uganda. No people that ever existed has had the same happy faculty of managing inferior races that has characterized the British. There has been in it something of the rollicking temper of the schoolboy. The German shamefully abused native races in the name of civilization. He imposed upon peoples who hardly knew the meaning of law, some complicated external code, and then smote these children of nature with all the sternness and cruelty of which we know his discredited race to have been capable when the primitive people turned under the abuse. The Belgian-when the Congo was administered by the German Prince on the Belgian throne-harried the natives of those proprietary lands in the effort to draw from them the last ounce of rubber they could gather. But love of order and a genuine human kindliness have gone hand in hand in the British administration. The way in which portions of our Empire have been acquired may or may not be matter for discussion. But the essential righteousness with which the subject races have been handled, once control has been established, is a triumph of good sense and understanding.
If the dependencies of the Empire were composed simply of Indias and Egypts its administration would be relatively simple; and if to the handling of those ancient civilizations there were to be added the governance of backward races the problem would still present a certain community of feature. What makes the question infinitely complicated is that at points far removed from one another on the earth's surface there are three groups of Colonies or dependencies which are free and self-governing, nations in themselves; and since the beginning of this Peace Conference they have been seen in very special measure by the whole world to be nationalities. The term "Empire" does not cover the facts, indeed it implies a relationship different from what actually exists. There is no "imperium" in the strict sense over Canada or Australia or South Africa. Any attempt to exert an imperium wonld be at once challenged. They are great self-governing peoples, filled with loyalty to the motherland, ready to sacrifice the best of their blood and all their treasure in her defence. The question of the relationship of these dominions to the Mother of Parliaments is one that is pressing for some kind of definition now, and it requires to be set forth in all calmness by men of balance of mind, familiar with the historical conditions that may hinder or forward a solution. Even before the War, as the members of the Empire Club very well know, the matter was being discussed from all angles. Mr. Chamberlain's famous abandonment of the historic position of Free Trade in the effort to bind the Dominions together in a commercial union, the gradual calling into council, at first only intermittent but now constant, of representative overseas statesman, finally the position urged by Mr. Borden while these words are being written that Canada should have her two representatives at the Peace Conference, sitting there as representing one of the great participating powers in the War-all this has thrust forward the question of the relationship of the Dominions to the Empire with a new urgency. Nothing is to be gained now by steering clear of plain statement. There is an issue and it is no small matter for thanks that it has been brought forward at a time when the old unity has been made multifold union by the sacrifices we have all made and by the outcome of the struggle through which we have just passed. It may very well be that the question of the relationship between the British government and the great dependencies will be settled in these days by the force of events instead of being left to the long arbitrament of argument and propagandism. That it is capable of a happy solution no one questions. This is no issue that has come to us as the ill-fated heritage of centuries of mis-government or of obstinacy. This is the legitimate problem of the Empire's development. If dependencies feel that now they are able to claim they are -something more than dependencies, it is because they have won that position by their stupendous and victorious fight for a cause which they felt to be right, a cause of liberty of which they recognized that the Old Country stood as a symbol. What is the stage of development that we have reached? The Empire is to be held together: on that we are all agreed. What is the nature of the alliance to be? Can we knit together the various elements that constitute the Empire by means of some governing body in London representative of each of the Dominions, or shall we trust to that loyalty which underlies the sense of our colonial nationalism?
No constitutional question is at present nearly so important as this; and it is evident that whether the matter is to be settled within a short time or left to a more lengthy solution by the working of forces that are already manifest, there is an urgent need for teaching so that men passing through our Universities and bound to influence the destinies of the Empire may bring to the consideration of the question not merely that sympathy which may so rapidly become prejudice but also the exact knowledge that underlies all sound statesmanship.
For at present there is no consensus of view. We are familiar with the ideas of Mr. Curtis, and are doubtless all readers of the "Round Table Magazine," and have whole-hearted sympathy with the objects Mr. Curtis has in view. We believe that the British Empire is the most powerful thing in the world, and we know how, the crisis of these last years has knit various portions of it more closely than ever together. We sympathize with every effort to ensure that the policy of the Imperial Parliament shall be the policy of Great Britain and of all her dependencies. We wish to be certain that the co-operation of the dependencies will always be hearty and unforced. Such has been the nature of their aid in both the Boer and the Great War, but circumstances might very well be conceived in which the interest of one or all of the dependencies might be different from that of the motherland. In that case the dissolution in some degree of the Empire would seem to be inevitable. Is it possible to devise any plan which would suffer only such action to be taken as has each Dominion behind it?
More than one scheme has been put forward for a Parliament of the Empire in London on which all the Dominions would be represented and which would be binding upon all the signatories. One of the most developed of such proposals was that of Sir Joseph Ward, Prime Minister of New Zealand, at the Imperial Conference of 1911. He proposed that an Imperial Parliament of Defence should be created "empowered to determine peace or war, to fix the contributions required from the component members of the Federation towards the cost of adequate Imperial defence, to shape the foreign policy in so far as it affected the Empire, to enter into international agreements and to transact such other imperial business as might by common agreement be transferred to its jurisdiction." This Imperial Parliament was to have two chambers. The lower house was to be formed by three hundred members elected for a five years' term, by the white electors of the United Kingdom and the Colonies, on the basis of one member for every two hundred thousand people. The upper house was to be composed of twelve members, two being elected by each branch of the confederation for a term and in a manner to be determined by each division of the Empire. On its financial side this parliament was for the first ten years to have no power of Taxation, but each of the Dominions was to pay an amount to be arranged to the Exchequer of the Imperial Parliament of Defence. After ten years both the amount to be raised and the manner in which it should be raised was to be determined by each Dominion legislature.
At the time this proposal was made I was still a citizen of the Old Country and I shall never forget the temper in which it was received. It was regarded as being an attempt to run the old land from outside, and certainly the manner in which it was put forward by Sir Joseph Ward gave ground for the idea that he considered Old Country politicians to be back numbers, and the Old Country fiscal policy as something that should be immediately departed from. The presupposition of the scheme was that free trade for the United Kingdom should go by the board, while the fact that this parliament would displace the present parliament at Westminster, or at least reduce it to the condition of a Provincial Legislature, caused the ghosts of Westminster to walk. An Upper House which was composed overwelmingly of members of the overseas dominions did not commend itself to the Old Country which felt that in the event of war its position was entirely different from that of Canada. Nor did the scheme take into adequate consideration the problem of India, and India to the citizen of the old land means a great deal more than it ever can mean to a politician like Sir Joseph Ward, always adopting a certain attitude towards colored races and thinking of them only as an element to be kept as far removed as possible. But India would not be allowed to come to any Imperial Parliament upon a basis of representation. How could Canada, with eight millions, and Australia with less than five millions of people, stand in voting power against the representatives of three hundred millions? The only alternative would be to leave India and the Crown Colonies as they are at present, under the rule of separate offices, and so to perpetuate a system of things which we feel must be only a temporary if a very noble piece of administration. Lord Morley will not live to see the fruits of his suggestions, and the Montagu-Chelmsford report may be as one born out of due time; but there is no question as to the general line of policy which is being adopted for India. The object of the rule is to make the confused races of that great Peninsula capable of self-government.
But the strongest criticism of the scheme of Sir Joseph Ward, as indeed of all the schemes of Imperial Federation by means of a Parliament sitting in London, has come from the Dominions themselves.
1. It means, to begin with, a reversion to that policy of centralization against which the Colonial history of the last eighty years has been a continuing and strenuous protest. We have often had reason to complain of the old countryman's ignorance of the problems and geography of the dependencies. He measures distances by decimals of a decimal; he tries to apply to the political life of the Dominion the party cries familiar to him in such very different conditions. But there is a corresponding ignorance on the part of the Canadian and Australian of things as they are in an older civilization. All problems cannot be solved by the cutting of knots if there is going to be any string left, and some of the knots in English law and tradition seem to the outsider to be merely wilful tangle-making. The fact is that while we are all citizens of the same Empire, we acquire insensibly and sometimes with amazing rapidity the characteristics of the continent or of the dominion in which we live. We do become different from one another. It is common-place that in Canada the Scotchman fits into the new niche with more ease than the Englishman. But the very saying, whether it be true or not, implies that there is a difference between the Canadian and the Old Countryman. What, it may be asked, would be the effect on the Canadian member of that Imperial Parliament of a long sojourn in London. He would come to live with the English governing class; he would begin to look at the things of his own Dominion through English spectacles; he would become Decanadianized. That might be a result to be sought if the object of the centralization were to produce a uniformity of British Empire type. But that is not the object. It is important that different types be developed. And yet the Canadian, living in Canada, would become not a little impatient with his representatives across the seas, if he felt that they were changing their habit of mind and instead of remaining Canadians were tending to become internationalized or denationalized imperialists.
2. However strong the Imperial sentiment be among us, and how strong it is has been made plain enough by the record of the Overseas Dominions in the war, that sentiment must not clash with the desire of the Dominions to order their own affairs. At present they are practically independent. They fix their own taxation; they arrange their own fiscal policy; if they aid in imperial defence it is because they are proud of stock from whence they are sprung. The relationship is so acknowledged and strong because it rests simply on sentiment, and not on law or contract. But, supposing Imperial affairs were to be ordered by an Imperial Parliament, strife might very soon arise with a Dominion Legislature. Australia has definite views as to the necessity of maintaining a white population and excluding the yellow races. Canada has set itself definitely against the admission of the Hindus, fellow-subjects of the Empire, and fellow-soldiers on many a hard fought field. On broad Imperial grounds the Imperial Parliament might declare that there must be freedom of access to all parts of the Empire for all citizens of the Empire. It is quite conceivable that a policy which would act for the good of the whole might be considered by a part as harmful in the extreme to that part. Under such a condition of things what would happen? It is not possible to coerce. The only practicable course would be to allow the Dominion concerned to have its own way, but the prestige of the Imperial Parliament would receive a rude blow.
In truth the history of the rise and growth of the various dominions is so different that it is not possible to imagine a uniform policy covering all the various issues which might arise. Canada and South Africa have both a race problem and a language problem. Thus, generally stated, the problems are similar; and yet, as we know, the whole setting is different. The Dutch element, conquered only the other day, is administering South Africa with a zeal for imperialism shown on many a field and in the person of statesman and soldier such as Smuts and Botha. In Canada the problem of religion has been added to that of race and language and it seems to make all the difference. The fact that France was struggling for existence did not swing the French Canadian into the war. The fact that Holland was a neutral did not keep the Boer out. And when fiscal matters are to be taken into consideration the conditions of Canada and Australia are different. The long haul from Lake Superior to Winnipeg, and the proximity of the markets in the United States, constitute a peculiar element in the issue in Canada. Australia, sea-girt and a continent in itself, under the one flag, presents a different problem. South Africa, where the white are outnumbered ten to one, by blacks increasing rapidly in numbers, has an issue quite other than that of Canada where the native races are negligible though held in esteem, or Australia, where the aborigines are of the most primitive existing type of man, and disappearing before the white. Again the fact must be stressed that this is not in the strict sense an empire, but a congeries of great states, held together by loyalty to a King, and a flag, and a race, and an ideal, each portion certain in the future, as in the past, to develope, under its particular conditions, its own characteristics.
The war again asserted this view of things; and it is evident that already, in the negotiations at the Peace Conference, 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. Almost unconsciously, in the last fortnight, we have moved beyond the Round Table plan and the centralization idea, and have come to a restatement of the alliance view. There are many men and women full of patriotism, who wish that some coherent scheme of Imperialism could be wrought out; but as a race we have never been systematizers, and, even if we had been, the attempt to bring an Empire comprised of such divers elements and scattered all over the habitable globe under a system is an attempt to square the circle. The only thing that has kept the Empire together is affection; and affection and sentiment are the only elements that will hold it. The days were when it looked as if the Dominions would drop away and set up house for themselves. That day is further off now than it was five and twenty years ago, when Goldwin Smith was in his strength. As an Empire Club it is your business to keep this Empire sentiment alive and so to help in binding together the various members of this unique phenomenon in history. There are many ways in which you can do this, but one of the most obvious is by the establishment in one or other of the Canadian Universities of a chair in Imperial History which would be not only a great teaching influence but a centre from which literature dealing with the subject might be circulated. If the idea is worth carrying out at all it should be done in no niggardly way. The man fit to fill a chair of this kind would need to have something of the prophet in him, a living force as well as a teacher. But is this not injecting politics into the Universities? I am not afraid of a name. If it be politics to awaken the imagination of men and women to the greatness of the heritage into which they have been born, to kindle their sense of responsibility for its worthy continuance, to impress them with the magic of ideals, .to tell to the next generation and to all the generations which shall come after that story which some of us here have been allowed to see in its most tragic if most noble chapters, then in the, name of all that is honourable and of good report let us have some of this politics in the training of our generous youth.
Gentlemen, I am very much obliged to you for the patient hearing you have given to this long address, but you see the general line. I think if an Empire Club such as this could take steps to encourage the teaching of Imperial History, not merely as a matter of dates and events, but as an inspiration, as an ideal, as a movement, teaching the young, who are growing up, that they have got something indeed to be proud of in the grand heritage of history, they will do a great service to Canada and the Empire. (Loud applause.)