CANADIAN CLUBS AND CANADIAN PROBLEMS.
An Address by Mr.- Charles R. McCullough, President of the Canadian Club, Hamilton, and Founder of the Canadian Club Movement, before the Empire Club of Canada. Toronto, on March 10, 1911.
Mr. President, my Lord Bishop and Gentlemen
There was a time when there seemed to be room for ignorance in regard to the possibilities of Canada. Down in the County of Durham, when we were all boys together, we were either English, Irish, or Scotch, according to our forefathers who had come to the Provincevery few of us ever called ourselves Canadians. It seems to me, sir, we had good reason, considering the past under the thrifty regime of the U.E. Loyalists who founded this great land; we had much to learn from their accomplishments all through the vicissitudes of those early days. But those days are past, and the day has come when Canada should demand that her sons, who have read her history, should learn to respect their land. There was then in those -days a reason why there should be organized among Canadians some sort of institution which would make it possible for the young men of Canada to acquire the largest information possible in regard to the past, to study the lessons of the past, and to be able to observe the trend of the present and the possible future. So in 1892 (I shall not bother you with details) a few of us gathered together in an upper chamber in Hamilton to discuss a matter which was acute in the country at that time.
A number of people were then preaching that our salvation lay in throwing in our lot with the United States In this connection I might mention Erastus Wiman, and there were many others. Now, I want to speak dispassionately when I refer to these gentlemen, for they were men of great skill and capacity, which I greatly admired, though I could not agree with them on the subject of Commercial Union. So, along with a great many other Canadians, we tried to find a way whereby we might strengthen and weld together men of diverse political views into one homogeneous organization that should know only one thing-their country-and endeavour to serve her as best they could. This was the origin of the Canadian Club idea. The first dinner was held in 1893about a month after the idea had been broached in December, 1892. The membership was composed of men of various views in Canadian life. Upon this occasion Mr. Byron E. Walker, now Sir Edmund Walker, was one of our guests, and he spoke with great enthusiasm-speaking as he always does as one who knows his subject thoroughly-and he dealt with the resources of Canada that were available in this great country. He dwelt in glowing terms upon the future of Canada, in terms which today we have seen so amply verified.
Mr. John Crerar, a prominent Liberal of Hamilton, at this time said he could not understand the basis of the Canadian Club. He could well understand there being a St. Andrew's Society, a St. George's Society, a St. Patrick's Society, or a St: Jean Baptiste Society; but what use was there for a "Canadian Club" in Canada. I sat back in my chair and wondered if perhaps we had not made a mistake after all in forming this club. But, after hearing Mr. Walker's address, I felt justified in the step we had taken. In the sixties one of our visitors from across the seas said of us: "To the Canadian it is of small concern what he thinks of his country-he has little pride in it himself-whatever pride of country a Canadian has, his object for the most part is outside Canada." This was in 1860, but, thank God, that period has passed, and passed forever, for Canadians are now self-conscious, and they have risen to the duties and obligations devolving upon them, and we can see, Mr. President, that a Canadian is as proud of his country today as is any other British subject.
Mr. J. W. Tyrell, the explorer, whose name will be familiar to any of you who have read his work on the "Sub.-Arctics of Canada," said at the mess of the Highland Regiment to which I happen to belong, that last winter, when up in the northern part of Manitoba, he was in conversation with one of the oldest Indian chiefs, who said he remembered the time when in Winnipeg there were no white men-only Scotchmen (Laughter.) That reminds me, sir, of the time when there seemed to be nobody but foreigners in Canada. Today I think we may safely say there are a great many Canadians in Canada who are Canadians at heart, and who, while they may differ in party matters, and in some fiscal matters, yet are deeply attached to the land in which they live. Let us be broad Canadians-as broad as from sea to sea and ocean to ocean, and from the south to the north; but in all our breadth let us endeavour to conserve the national spirit, to build up Canada in every possible way. I may not quote Scripture correctly, my Lord Bishop, but will say that "man does not live by bread alone," nor a Canadian by material resources merely. We should love these ideals we have before us, and each endeavouring in season and out of season to achieve them. Quoting Scripture, or endeavouring to do so, reminds me of the early days of the Canadian Club-when, I suppose, Sanford Evans and myself spent more time in that connection than we did in our respective businesses-and a certain clergyman when he met me on the street would say: "Well, McCullough, how is Canada today?" It was cynical, it appeared to me, and seemed very chilling in those days, but I would assure him that "Canada was very well indeed that day." And I think, sir, that Canada is very well for many centuries to come if we are true to her.
You who have read history will remember that in the year 1849 a Manifesto was issued in the great city of Montreal regarding our neighbours to the south, and endeavouring to persuade us that our safety lay in union with those southern neighbours. Well, sir, that was in Montreal, that city that has seen so many thrilling events in our history. While that Manifesto was being signed Susannah Moodie was writing a book on Canada, in which she wrote: "The time is not far distant when she (Canada) shall possess many advantages; when the old nations of the world will look upon her development with pride. Her infancy is passed, she has begun to feel her feet. She has heard the call clearly-and she must be great." These were the words of a noble woman, a woman descended from the noble Strickland family of England, and a woman who suffered a great deal during the vicissitudes of the early days in Canada-the pioneer, formative days. It is, I am sure, a credit and an honour to any country to see such women as these so true to their adopted country in days gone by.
Now, what does the Canadian Club stand for? What do Canadians stand for?-because Canadian Clubs are Canada. In the 60 or 70 of -these clubs scattered throughout Canada, it is a duty to interest members in the great questions which all Canadians are concerned in by such means and such gatherings as you have here today. These meetings are taking place all over Canada, whereby men come and express their views--rightly or wrongly--and they are taken at their market value. You will remember, back in the prefederation days when our frontier was assailed, or about to be in 1866, how D'Arcy McGee advocated the principle that our young men of Canada were the guards we wanted, and the only guards required to protect our frontier. When our young men are proud of their country and of the Empire, then there is little fear for the future welfare of our land, or little need for apprehension as to any trouble in store for us. Where the heart is right there is true patriotism. It seems to me this love of country will colour the whole development and guide them in all their actions.
Now, Victor Hugo said in one of his novels: "There are certain beings who cannot have love on one side without hatred on the other." Now, I would be very much pained if in this country of ours we based our love of Canada upon the dislike of any other people. That is not a sound enough basis on which to erect a national fabric, nor would it continue long thereon. So I found myself not long ago the guest of a Canadian Club at New York at a Peace Dinner. I also attended one at Boston, and as a military man, holding a commission from His Majesty, felt perfectly satisfied to take part in these Peace Dinners in .the United States. We should meet with ready hands, in the kindliest disposition possible, the United States, but it seems to me that in doing so we should in no way lower the national tone of our people, but rather to endeavour to promote and develop it in every possible way, and should think of our own household before we think of a 'household beyond the border.
Then there was another object of the Canadian Club; namely, the promoting of unity amongst ourselves. One of our first efforts was to bring a distinguished FrenchCanadian from Montreal to Hamilton to address the Canadian Club. Of course, we differ somewhat from the people of Quebec, at any rate in religion, but the French were in Canada before we came, and we should seek to cultivate the spirit of tolerance, good-will and concord in relation to our compatriots, the residents of the Province of Quebec. So, at the outset of the Canadian Club movement we tried to develop this idea of toleration and respect for the point of view of the other fellow in Canada. In this and other connections let us always remember that love is better than hate, that faith is better than doubt. and hope in our future destiny is better than fear or pessimism. These words, or something very like them, have been expressed by the present Premier of Canada--French-Canadian.
In building up the walls of Jerusalem everyone of the children of Israel enclosed their city with unusual strength of wall-the duty devolved upon them to build, and every man did his part. So, in Canada, it is by every one doing his part, men of diverse views, men of different races, men who have no knowledge of the liberty we enjoy in this Canada of ours, but who have come here to share in our privileges. It is our duty to meet such men with kindly hands, kindly words, and show them the reason we are proud of our heritage as British subjects in Canada. I look with a good deal of satisfaction on .the growth of the Canadian Club movement. It should make for a strong national character. In travelling from Hamilton to Victoria, at various points last autumn where I stopped off I saw Canadian Clubs springing up all along the line. In speaking upon one occasion, I said I was pleased .to know there were not strong forts from the Atlantic to the Pacific between us and our American neighbours such as there is in Germany between that country and France; but instead, that these Canadian Clubs might be taken as so many redoubts spread along the border line and seeking to make of all Canadians strong integral parts of the British Empire. Mr. President, I am through. I will close by thanking you and the members present for the opportunity given me of endeavouring to express to you in a few words the place this Canadian Club movement holds, and in which I am sure you are all interested. I trust that the efforts of the Canadian Club to make Canada a great family, an important nation, shall not prove futile, and that Canada will rise to be the very apex of our great Imperial fabric.