- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 7 Jan 1904, p. 31-37
- Burwash, Rev. N., Speaker
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- The importance of patriotism in education, shown throughout history. Rights and wrongs in this idea of patriotism in education. A type of patriotism in education which cherishes all that is great and good in the history of the past, with example. Another side from which patriotism may be cultivated with safety and advantage: the historical side. Canadians not limited to the history of our own land. Our double heritage. Having behind us the history of 1500 years. Examples of how the poets of the land have cherished this sentiment: Homer, Tennyson, and Kipling as examples. A practical character in connection with our Canadian education. Examining what forms our Canadian type. Influences of a very large element from other sources. Borrowing from the United States. Dr. Ryerson, borrowing from Germany and Ireland, and from Massachusetts, all of which elements were introduced into our educational system. Appreciating the importance of such work as was inaugurated by Mr. Cecil Rhodes in the establishment of the Rhodes' Scholarships. The speaker's visit to Oxford some eight or nine years ago; witnessing the opportunity for impressing young men with high Imperial ideas. Planting these high ideals in the home, and in the school, and at the university.
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- 7 Jan 1904
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IMPERIALISM IN EDUCATION.
Address delivered by Rev. N. Burwash, S.T.D., LL.D., Chancellor of Victoria University, Toronto, before the Empire Club of Canada, on January 7th, 1904.
MR. PRESIDENT,--of all I must thank you most sincerely for the great honour you have done me in asking me to address such a body of the intellect and culture and strength of our Queen City. I see before me very largely young men, young men whose energy and enterprise is the hope of our country for the future-young men who have been trained under our educational system and whose entire future is influenced by our educational ideals. I have no doubt that you as young men, looking into the future as well as upon the past, will take the deepest interest in all that concerns the building up of our nationality, and especially in that part of it which depends upon the education of the nation.
For many generations the world has been alive to the importance of patriotism in education. You will find it away back in the days of ancient Greece and Rome, and you will find it in the earliest development of the nationalities of the Old World-that is, of Europe. It has been a very prominent factor in the educational work of our neighbours across the line. They have done everything to stimulate the national sentiment and to build up their young people with the idea that the United States of America is the greatest nation upon the face of the globe. There are rights and wrongs in this idea of patriotism in education. It tends more or less to increase our conceit of ourselves. If it goes so far as to falsify the great facts of history, if it loses sight of what the world allround is doing, then it is a curse rather than a blessing, and in the long run will bring its limitations in the achievement of character and of national ideas and produce ignorance of those great movements in the march of which every prominent and strong nation must necessarily form a part.
But there is another type of patriotism in education which is very different from this-the type which cherishes all that is great and good in the history of the past; a type which makes itself thoroughly conversant with the elements of its own strength and with the character of its own country; a type of patriotism that is in love even with those things the outside world may depreciate and out of which barren rocks and hills bring something that it loves. Take the men of Ireland, take the men of Scotland, and take the men of England today, and every acre of land in those Islands is dear to them. They love the rugged rocks, the, hills and valleys and the moss upon the hillside; all have something that touches their hearts, and although they know not why, they are deeply attached to the soil. Their forefathers have lived and died there and there is nothing in the simple, natural love for the scenes of our childhood which tends to depreciate the men themselves or to limit their views, or to make them less strong as men, and the men of those Islands, like the men of ancient Greece, have grown up with a love for their country-have numbered themselves amongst the strongest of our race. Certainly every country must rise in that way, and if there is a love of their country in the hearts of their children and if they have a sympathetic temperament, they will certainly always love the land in which they were born.
But there is another side from which patriotism may be cultivated with safety and advantage and that is the historical side. That develops the higher and more intellectual and perhaps less emotional-and yet I do not know that it is less emotional-idea of patriotism than the simple love of rocks and hills and beauties and other things of our native land. Every man should know his country in all its past and here comes in the Imperial idea of education. We are not limited to the history of our own land and we, as Canadians, have a double heritage in the history of a country of which none need be ashamed and in the glorious traditions, of an Empire. And in that Imperial idea we have behind us the history of 1500--I was almost going to say 2000 years--of glorious memories and association with all those elements in science and literature which we can call our own as members of the British Empire.
Of those who cherish this sentiment, no one has been more successful than the poets of the land. Homer did more for Greece than anyone. It was only the other day I received a package of Grecian manuscripts which had been taken out of the Tombs, and I came across a note saying there had been recently found there a manuscript of Homer lying under the head of a young woman as she lay in her grave in the tombs in Egypt. Her love for her country had followed her to the land of exile, and when she was dying in a strange land she requested that her Homer should be placed under her head.
In our own day we have had examples of this in Tennyson and Kipling and with the Recessional, which so stirred our hearts. I think that of all the poets who have governed the hearts of our people, there is perhaps no one who has appealed to the most of them as has Rudyard Kipling, and he has been one great factor in bringing to the front this idea of a united Empire and, although sometimes we have been a little angry because he spoke of us as " The Lady of the Snows," I think we can forgive that when we remember all that he has done to bring our own land and other countries into touch with each other.
I do not intend to dwell upon this, but upon something of a more practical character in connection with our Canadian education. We form our educational type in Canada. The formation of such a type is one of the most important factors in the future history of a country. You go to Scotland today and you will find there a type of education which has been growing for centuries. It is not a very proud type; it is a religious type, a moral type, a type of accuracy and exactness, and the old Scotch schoolmaster in the remotest part of the word was permeated with that type, and he taught his scholars according to that type, and he taught them well.
The north of Ireland partakes from Scotland; the south and west of Ireland has its own type deeply permeated with the spirit of religion. England has its own book type. You go to the great universities today and you will notice at once that in the extent of its curriculum, in all that belongs to the field, of learning, they are perhaps not equal to the Germans. Twenty-five or thirty years ago when I sent one of my pupils over to Cambridge to pursue a postgraduate course, I gave him a letter of introduction to the Professor there. After the Professor had read the letter he said, " Why do you come here?" The student replied that his Professor had advised him to go to England, whereupon the English Professor replied, " Go to Germany, I could not conscientiously keep you here. In Germany you will get what you cannot get here." So away the student went to Germany, and after three or four years he came back thoroughly permeated with the German ideals and conception, and with the idea that Germany was the greatest place in the world in the department of education. That is perhaps true in a sense, as the. German ideal of education is acknowledged to be very good.
There is a French ideal of good form and logical clearness, and anyone who has picked up a French text-book will know how well everything in the book is treated. You can see from the beginning to the end of the French text-book, and everything is put in such beautiful form and order that there is no difficulty in mastering its contents. On the other hand, while there is a great amount of knowledge and learning of more or less utility in the German texts, you can hardly make out the complex form. But the English conception of education has been more or less a useful as well as intellectual development of the man. The Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge have in their curriculum and in their learning, the most successful system, so far as I am aware, that the world has known, for the making of strong, finished, well-educated, and high-minded men. No country has been better served in its public life, national life, ecclesiastical life and literary life; no country has been better served by the character and strength of its manhood, than the English people, and what I might say of Oxford and Cambridge is perhaps quite as true of the Dublin College and others.
Now what forms our Canadian type? We very naturally ask ourselves, what shaped the model? We began with a good foundation laid after our English, Scotch and Irish types. The first prominent and able educators in this country were men from the Universities of the Old Land, and they did a great deal to form a type of Canadian culture for all time to come. Bishop Strachan, Dr. Phillips, Dr. Harris, Dr. McCaul, and many others were men from the Universities in the Old Land who came with the ideals of the Old Land before them. The first schools established were the grammar schools, and then the higher institutions of learning, and they commenced to mould the schools of this country after that educational type.
But we have had influences of a very large element from other sources. We have borrowed from the United States, and school-masters from the New England and other States came over and laid foundations, and some of them did work that lasted for a long time and was no doubt beneficial in its influence. When Dr. Ryerson took hold of our education he went to Germany and Ireland, and he borrowed very largely from Massachusetts, and these elements were all introduced into our educational system. But perhaps the most important depreciating element has been the number of our young men who go to the United States and Germany for their postgraduate work. That is an element which we do not perhaps appreciate in all its seriousness as to the effect on the future. These men come back to us, and they become prominent by virtue of their advanced positions, educationally, and they become the leaders of our future. They become Professors in our Colleges, and if you run over the Colleges in this City you will find that almost every man in these institutions has been brought more or less under the influence of the great educational institutions, either on the other side of the line or in Germany, and as they come back they bring with them the German ideals or the American ideals rather than English ideals. A very small number have been educated in the English Universities as a result of their post-graduate course.
This will perhaps enable you to appreciate the importance of such work as was inaugurated by Mr. Cecil Rhodes in the establishment of the Rhodes' Scholarships a few years ago. He was not, however, the first by any means to see the importance of this matter or to lead off in this direction. Before Mr. Rhodes our own Mr. Flavelle had established a post-graduate scholarship in Oxford University, and so far as Ontario is concerned, Mr. Flavelle's work is just as important to us as Mr. Rhodes' work, because it will do exactly the same thing for us and maintain for all time to come in connection with his name and the scholarship, at least one of our prominent young men, and thus bring in the University ideals of Oxford.
I visited Oxford some eight or nine years ago, and was very much impressed with it as an Imperial centre. There upon the streets you saw young men from all parts of the Empire. Sometimes it was amusing to see walking, arm in arm up and down High Street, in Oxford, a man from South Africa, as black as your cap, and one of our aristocratic sons of Britain. I believe I saw one day the son of a nobleman who is now Governor of Australia, side by side with one of these Zulus, and they seemed to be on very good terms. There was the heart of the Empire in touch with one of its outsiders. There were men there from Canada and Australia, as well as people from the United States. The whole English-speaking race seemed to be represented there, and not only the English-speaking race, but representatives from every other country forming a part of our Empire.
In that centre of such a life, and in touch with all parts of the Empire, you will see what an opportunity there is for impressing young men with high Imperial ideas. And there is nothing in connection with the national ideal in education that is of more importance than that our young people should grow up not with a conception that theirs is the biggest country in the world, the greatest, or the country with the most wealth, or the largest number of acres, but that they should grow up with a sense of the importance of the responsibilities which have been laid upon them in connection with the future of the race in their part of the British Empire. Without any doubt God has given Britain a great work to do in the future of mankind, and when Rudyard Kipling speaks of the "White Man's Burden," in a piece of imagination, it represents a great moral fact. And, as we form our Canadian type of education, I think we ought to aim especially in preserving for our young people the British ideals that have been so long and so thoroughly developed in the past history of England.
There is an ideal that will enable us to be foremost. Germany has done a great deal, and so has the United States, but there is a higher ideal for us; that is the high ideal of man, of high moral manhood, and if there is anything in the English ideals that strikes me, it is that. An Englishman feels it is beneath him to do a wrong thing or be dishonest. It is part of his education that all these things are unbecoming to a man, as a man, with the highest ideals of manhood, and the more thoroughly we can build up these ideals, the stronger we will be in the future, for depend upon it, gentlemen, the future of every individual and every nation depends far more upon the moral character than upon the extent of advancement in the arts and sciences. You can pick up arts and sciences for various purposes at ten months' notice, at any time, but moral character is something that can only be built up by long years of hard work, and pure living, and associations with successive generations of men who have cultivated that ideal before you. It is in the home, and in the school, and at the university that these ideals must be planted, and once planted there, depend upon it they will live on for the future.