NATIONAL AND ETHICAL VALUE OF CADET TRAINING
An Address delivered by DR. JAMES L. HUGHES, Chief Inspector of Schools, before the Empire Club of 'Canada, on December 21, 1911.
My. President and Gentlemen,-
I like that word "Empire" and, if you go on, I suppose the word "the" will be the word which will have to be emphasized most-the Empire Club, at any rate, of our Canada.
Thirty-seven years ago I introduced the cadet system into Toronto, and I have no apology to make for doing so. There are some people who object to cadet work in schools. Two remarks about them will be sufficient. First, they form a very small minority of the people of this country. Second, they have never studied the question very thoroughly or they would not object to it. They hold mere sentimental objections so far as I have heard them. For thirty-seven years I have watched the effect of this work very carefully on the boys who have been trained in our schools. I believe there is no better work done in our schools or in any schools than we are achieving largely by the introduction of military drill into our schools, so that all the boys who are physically fit take drill as they do any other department of their work; and I believe we can do nothing better for the national life of our country and for the individual life of the boy than to get him interested in this subject early in life. Get him interested? We don't need to get him interested. There is no boy, I think, of the nearly 3,000 we have on our list of cadets in Toronto who would go to a baseball match or any other kind of match if he had a chance to turn out on parade. I did not need to order the boys out recently to welcome His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught. I knew they would come if they got the opportunity to come, and every Company in the city was full to its limit and I had many applications for uniforms for other boys that I could not supply.
First consider the national advantages. I do not believe in any system of conscription. It is not Canadian, it is not British, it is not necessary, and I recommend the cadet system as a substitute, as an ideal substitute for conscription. There are people in Canada who. talk about conscription and preach against conscription. No one in Canada, so far as I know, proposes conscription. Why should we? These men do not understand, I fear, that every able-bodied man with few exceptions between 18 and 45 is liable to defend his country now, in case of necessity, liable to be called out by the Government authority if he lives in this country; and he is riot fit to live in this or any other country if he is not ready to defend his country in time of trouble. (Applause.) From 18 to 45 we are liable now. I think it would be a crime to call out the men of this country without knowing that they had been trained before-call them out without training, helpless in the face of the enemy, and therefore I believe in those who in this country are working along the lines of introducing the cadet system into the schools and in enlarging the militia system and are working on the lines of having men prepared by universal training because they are liable to universal service (applause) so that they may be ready to do their duty.
There are people who say that by introducing the 'cadet system into our schools we are developing hatred to other nations, even to our neighbouring nations. Gentlemen, the distinguished clergyman who spoke to you two weeks ago said at the recent military conference in Ottawa a very wise thing. He said war is not caused by soldiers, it is caused by politicians, not by the soldiers-, and the training of the young men of this country does not mean they will have antagonism toy the people of other lands, but that they shall be ready in case it is necessary for them to defend their Homes and their country, or their motherland. I remember that one of the mayors of this city at one time speaking to the cadets of the Toronto Public Schools in the Park said, "I am glad these boys are being trained so that they will say to the people to the south of us, Hands off Canada." I was the next speaker and I said that is not the spirit at all in which these boys are being trained. We are training these boys to say, to the boys of the United States: "Hands together across the border line to work for God and humanity, to achieve the things we ought to do for God and humanity." (Applause.) It does not make a boy quarrelsome to train him as a cadet.
Briefly, because the time is so brief, I shall look now at the individual benefits that come to the boy himself. First, military training is good physical training, and it is a good physical training largely because the boys love it-you can't develop, and I am sure the physicians here will support this-you can't develop a boy physically to any great extent by putting him through any course of physical training he does not enjoy. God made us in harmony physically, intellectually, and spiritually, and unless the whole being is called into activity the physical results are not what they should be, the mental results are not what they might be, and the moral results are not so high as they should be. Not merely does it develop a man or boy physically in strength, giving him greater strength, greater agility, more activity, but it gives him a better poise, a better bearing, it gives him more dignity of body, it gives him a more definite step, and you cart not do those things to a boy's body without helping his moral attitude too, at the same time. If you will give the devil a thousand boys who have been allowed to drag their feet as they walk, and to lean against the walls, and to slouch-through the world-give him a thousand of those boys, and another man gives him a thousand boys who have been trained to stand truly, keep the body in the right poise, and have the right bearing and the true step, to hold the head up and shoulders back and look the world squarely in' the face and step out directly and definitely, the devil will have a much easier time with the first thousand than with the second thousand. You can't give that boy a better physical poise, and bearing, and training without its reacting on his mental and on his moral attitude. That is unity.
Then it gives a boy control so that the body responds to his mind. That is a mighty step in moral training that the boy's body responds and responds automatically to the boy's mind. I think that is self evident. It enables us to give a training in patriotism to the young people of the country, and I think patriotism is a high moral ideal-true patriotism, not hatred of other lands, but love of his own land, the consciousness of the glory of being a Canadian and of being associated with the grand old British Empire.
We got into this city in the last ten years nearly 30,000 foreigners and a very large number of children--a very much larger number of children, by the by, relatively, than we had before the foreigners came, whatever may be the reason for it. There is no other way in which I can make those boys conscious of the fact that they are British Canadian boys so quickly or so thoroughly as by training them to keep time to the old British tunes and follow that old British flag and wear the King's uniform. (Applause.) We have whole companies of boys in our city that are foreigners, and there are no better fellows as a rule than they are. You could not preach patriotism to them or teach them patriotism theoretically any other way so thoroughly as by getting it into their lives as they step. We are not what we have read or what we have been told, we are each one of us what we have not merely thought out but wrought out in our lives, and those boys marching as they do with their heads up and with a consciousness, they are behind that flag, recognize that that flag is the representation of liberty to them, and they are glad -to be in this BritishCanadian country.
.One of the most vital reasons for introducing drill, and one of the best effects that comes from drill in the schools is a reverence for law and not a reverence for the individual simply who represents law. We frequently fail, I think, at that point, and in many of the' elements of training of boys we try to give the boys a reverence for the individual simply who is administering the. law. You can not get a reverence for law by that process. The true process is reverence for law, and then you will reverence the individual who administers the law, and a real reverence for law is one of the fundamental elements of our moral nature, and one of the best elements of our moral training. It trains a race so that they have a consciousness that law is liberty and not a restrictive force only, that it is a guiding agency and not simply something which marks the limits beyond which they may not go. It is not simply to stop me from doing things but something to guide me in doing things and achieving greater things. If we can give the race that revelation, that consciousness of law as the guiding agency in life they will achieve individually more than they could without law. We can easily make that clear to them, and in military drill I think we can give that deep consciousness without talking about it at all-a conscious respect for law itself. They know, those boys who are drilling, that they could not parade as they do unless they had learned the law, and unless they had loved the law, and sinless they 'had recognized the law as the guiding element in their lives.
When the Duke of Connaught visited Toronto recently one company of our boys was put off by accident two miles from the place where they should have been put off the street cars. The captain of that company had been elected that morning only because the captain who had beer! in charge had left school the preceding week. If those boys had been turned out just as a snob of boys, you know what would have happened, but they were not, they were an organization, and the captain organized those boys and marched them the two miles to their place, extended them in proper order, and they took their place like young gentlemen, in that parade. That shows the value of organization and law in relation to organization; and every boy who took part in that parade in that company, and every boy who ever takes part in any parade or in any company drill becomes conscious of the fact that the laws of company drill are what he has to know and follow, to carry out and to execute in order to achieve success, and so I regard that as one of the very vital things we give to the boys. Of course we give it in a sense by teaching arithmetic or grammar, or any of the other abstractions, but you can not give it as definitely as you can where he himself is the active agent carrying out the law; and doing wrong if he does not follow the law, and accomplishing greater and better and truer things if he does follow the law.
One of the great modern ideals in education, an ideal perhaps most definitely given to the race by Christ himself, is unity in two great ideals indeed that Christ gave to me; first, that I am responsible for the things I -ought to do in the world, a conscious responsibility for, my work, and, second, that my work is not for myself but that my work should be achieved in harmony, in cooperation with my fellow men. Those are the greatest ideals I have been able to get from the teachings of Christ. I can reveal by military drill to every boy in a company the definite consciousness that he is responsible as an individual. He knows that on parade if he is not in step that his whole company is disgraced. You remember the Irish lady in New York who said it was wonderful that the whole parade was out of step except her son Tim, but that is not the way the world looks at it. She was wrong. The boy who does not step with the right foot, the boy who does not perform his part in any movement definitely and accurately and on time knows he is responsible for the failure of his whole company. So the boys get not a theoretical reverence of selfhood, not a theoretical consciousness of their value as individual citizens, but they get in a most definite and attractive way, not by words but by activity, the splendid consciousness that they are responsible for duty, for doing their share to the best of their ability or else their team or company or battalion will not be up to its proper standard. Higher than that is the other ideal, I think the greatest moral ideal that I am conscious of, the ideal of co-operation of the race, cooperation of each individual with the rest of his fellows, co-operation in the company, co-operation in the city, cooperation in the State. I can not give that ideal clearly to a boy so that it becomes a vital element in his life by simply talking it to him or by giving him good books to read about it. Theoretically he might have it, but that is not the vital thing. The vital power in you or in me or in our boys is the power that has something behind it; it has the emotional nature behind it, that battery power of life. Whatever element of thought or whatever ideal I have may be of no value to the world or myself unless there is behind it some vital battery element which will drive me to the achievement of that great thought that may come into my life, or that little thought as the case may be; and we never get a little thought and execute it without having a big thought coming along after it. If we execute the thought of today we will get the next bigger thought. That is how we get on; by doing the things we clearly see today we get not merely the power to do new things tomorrow but the vision of the new things we should do. In drill one boy knows he is not the whole company, he knows that by uniformly acting together, by uniformly doing each one his part, in co-operation with his fellows the achievement, whatever it is, is attained; therefore because I can give a boy a reverence for law, because I can give him a true reverence- for his selfhood, and because I can give him a true consciousness of his relationship to his fellows and his duty to his fellows I am standing here today to advocate the introduction of the Cadet System, not only into the city schools of the Dominion but in the rural schools throughout the whole Dominion. (Hear, hear.)
I am glad to tell you that in the Northwest in the rural districts the boys go sometimes hundreds--of miles to camp in the summer time, and that the men along the route will feed the boys and give them hay for their horses and other things of that kind. We heard that at the conference in Ottawa. I am glad to tell you that in the good old city of Quebec-some people think Quebec is not loyal-they have just as uniform a system of training their cadets as we have in Toronto in our schools. Throughout this country very soon, and largely through the agency of that great fund which Lord Strathcona has established we shall be able to see from end to end of this province the introduction of military drill, and of rifle shooting, and of physical training both for the girls and boys into all the schools of the province. We have recently through this Strathcona Trust put in every school of the Dominion a copy of the text book which is to be used for teaching physical training. I said at the beginning only a few comparatively objected to it. During the 37 years that we have had this work in Toronto there never has been a time when more than one member of the school board objected to any part of the work, and there never was a time when even one member objected to the rifle shooting; and so I think that among the men who have studied the question, and the women too, and among the great bodies of patriotic Canadians-and we are sprung from good stock-there is almost a universal sentiment in favour of the cadet system if we can simply crystallize that sentiment into activity. In conclusion, I say I do not believe that I can do a better thing for the boys under my direction, that no inspector can do a better thing for the boys under his inspection, than to make them conscious of the fact they belong to a great country, and that they are of value to that country, and that in order to do their duty to that country they should prepare themselves to be ready to defend that country in case of necessity. (Applause.)