TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD WITH THE EASTERN ARCTIC PATROL
AN ADDRESS BY HONOURABLE W. G. MARTIN
Thursday, April 30th, 1936
MR. J. H. BRACE: In the summer of 1935, our guest speaker journeyed to Canada's farthest north as Historian with the Eastern Arctic Patrol. This would seem to be rather a chilly trip. However, I am given to understand that in the summer of 1934 he, and a number of friends, found Southern Canada a rather chilly place for the time being. (Laughter.) Probably as a result of his 1934 experience he was quite prepared to withstand the chills and the frigid temperature of our Arctic North.
The Honourable Mr. Martin needs no introduction to a Toronto audience. As Minister of Public Welfare in the late Government he had a great responsibility in the alleviating o£ the problems of the unemployed and in assisting the municipalities in distress. I think, as time goes on we, in Ontario, will more clearly understand the heavy load under which he carried on and under which the Honourable Mr. Croll today is carrying on.
Our guest speaker today will address us on the subject: "To the Top of the World with the Eastern Arctic Patrol." The Honourable Mr. Martin.
THE HONOURABLE W. G. MARTIN: Mr. President and Gentlemen: The experience we had last summer, I am glad the President noted, was somewhat of an anti-climax and I am very glad he also added the words `for the time being.' Time moves very rapidly.
When the old "Nascopie" sailed down the St. Lawrence last July on her annual pilgrimage to Canada's farthest north, we had a very interesting company of people on board - officials of the Hudson's Bay Company, clerks and managers and apprentices; a detachment of the Canadian Mounted Police under the command of Superintendent Sandyswunsch; and the members of the Government Expedition.
As you well know, Canada has sent a number of expeditions into the far north. From 1913 to 1918, the leader of the expeditions was Mr. Stefansson, who talked of blonde Eskimos. Well, we saw some pale Eskimos, but no blondes. He also talked of living off the land. Then, following Mr. Stefansson, Major Burwash was the Commander and for the past three years, David Livingstone McKeand has led the Expedition.
The personnel of the Expedition included Mr. David Nichols, as geologist, Mr. Chas. Ney of the Department of Geodetic Survey of Canada, who was interested in the work of determining the latitude and longitude of ports en route; Mr. Brown, of the Federal Department of Agriculture, whom we regarded as the bugologist. It seems that every expedition that goes anywhere must have a man who goes around with a butterfly net. Mr. Brown brought back some very excellent specimen to be placed in the National Museum at Ottawa. Mr. Douglas Leechman, the archaeologist, and Commander Beard, who went to study the inlets and harbours to see what value they might have from a naval point of view.
Among the doctors was Dr. Richard of Ottawa, who was the physician for the expedition. When we went into Hudson Strait, Dr. Richard journeyed into Ungava Bay where they have not had a doctor for ten years. Dr. Birchard of Montreal who is head of the Department for the study of heart diseases at the Montreal: General Hospital was with us until we reached Churchill and then his place was taken by Dr. Rabinowitch. As you know, Dr. Rabinowitch is head of the Department of Basal, Metabolism of, the Montreal General Hospital, and Director of the largest clinic for diabetes on the North American Continent. The work of Dr. Rabinowitch was to study the chemistry and physics of the Eskimo, also his diet. He exposed the Eskimo to certain kinds of food and watched the reaction upon the Eskimo by taking samples of his blood. He had a very fine equipment on board and during the months of the winter the work which he carried on has been followed up in the laboratories of McGill University.
One of the busiest men on board was the Postmaster, Mr. Melville MacLean, Supervisor of Postal Services for Canada. He visited the various post offices on the way. There was a time when if you desired to send a letter to Canada's far north, it would have to go to Peterhead in Scotland, come out on a whaler and when it reached northern latitudes the traders would come by dog team to the coast and go out in boats armed with potato sacks to take the letters ashore. Now, the government has established a number of post offices through out the Eastern Arctic. The first one at which we called was Port Bur-well at the entrance to Hudson Strait (I see they have put this map at the top of the world-it is rather difficult to reach.) Mr. MacLean found the total amount of postage business done by this post office in the previous fiscal year was 34 cents worth of stamps. I think there must have been some political pull in pdacing the post office in Port Burwell. The interesting thing that made Mr. MacLean a very busy man was the quantity of philatelic mail we carried. The fact that an expedition was going to Craig Harbour in Ellesmere Island, the most northerly post office in the British Empire attracted the attention of stamp collectors all over the world. Weeks before the expedition is due to sail Ottawa is actually swamped with requests and consignments of maid, properly addressed and covered with postage to pay for stamps and with requests that the letters be cancelled at the various ports of call. This year we carried with us 13,000 pieces of philatelic mail.
You will be interested, possibly, in the route we travelled. From Montreal we went dowry the St. Lawrence, through the Gulf, through the Straits of Belle Isle and up the Labrador Coast, stopping at Port Burwell; through the Hudson Strait, calling at Lake Harbour m South Baffin Land, and at Sugluk, Wakeham Bay and Wolstenholme down to Cape Smith in Hudson Bay-south to Port Harrison-then five hundred miles across Hudson Bay to Churchill; from Churchill to Chesterfield Inlet, on to Southampton Island, and Cape Dorset; across the Strait again to Lake Harbour, another call at Burwell, then 1300 miles due north to Craig Harbour in Ellesmere Island, within 750 miles of the North Pole. Having called at Devon Island and Pond Inlet, we came down again to Port Burwell, along the Labrador Coast; through the Straits of Belle Isle, and the Gulf, and ultimately arrived at Halifax. A cruise of 10,000 miles and we were never out of Canadian waters and every port was a Canadian port. (Applause.) It gives you some idea of the vastness of our great country. Some of those islands are very large. Baffin Land equals in size Great Britain, Ceylon, Tasmania and Newfoundland. Southampton Island is half the size of Ireland, and Devon Island is three-quarters the size of Ireland. Ellesmere Island is almost the size of Great Britain. It is the most northerly island. When we reached there the natives came to greet us. The total population of Ellesmere came - two mounties, two natives and their wives and three children.
The "Nascopie," of course, was a small vessel. I understand the "Queen Mary" which will make her maiden voyage in the month of May has a gross tonnage, and was weighed recently, of about 80,000 tons. The "Nascopie" has a tonnage of only 2,500 tons and yet the "Nascopie" can accomplish what the pride of the British Mercantile Marine, the "Queen Mary," can never hope to achieve, for the "Nascopie" is an ice breaker and her bow is so shaped that she can push through the ice, mount upon the ice floes and bear down upon them and by her own sheer weight crush them. Once she has opened up the lead she will follow it through. I don't think that was seen to better advantage than when we called at Craig Harbour. Early one morning we could see the copper hills of South Ellesmere Island. We could look through the glasses and see the two little shacks of the mounties, with the Union Jack floating above them. From nine in the morning until eight at night, the "Nascopie" pushed and shoved its way, inch by inch, yard by yard, steadily gaining the mastery until at last she was able to anchor within a few miles of Craig Harbour. During the whole day we had covered only six miles.
The "Nascopie," of course, is an old war vessel. During the War, the Hudson's Bay Company maintained an agency at Archangel and their ships carried ammunition to Russia and wheat and timber and so forth from Russia to France. The "Nascopie" was one of the vessels engaged in this work. In 1916 it was the "Nascopie" that piloted the way through the ice of, the White Sea for the French cruiser bearing the French diplomats to their conference in Russia. In 1917 she was attacked by a submarine but the second shell from the "Nascopie's" guns caused a terrific explosion aboard the submarine and it was never heard of again, and for that the "Nascopie" received the bounty of the Government and the thanks of the British Admiralty.
We were so crowded with equipment that we did not have much room for exercise and I was interested in the fact that in the early days of exploration they had dumb bells on board for daily exercise. We had no dumb bells - I mean not the sort you use with your hands. They also carried barrel organs which would grind out country dances for the members of the expeditions to dance to during the long days and nights of winter. We had no barrel organ and we didn't have a radio. We were cut off from civilization save for the few days that we were in Churchill waiting for our coal to be brought out from Newcastle to take us to our far northern point, but we had a gramophone and morning, noon and night, that gramophone ground out sentimental ditties about Sunny Texas and some pathetic little ballad about the Isle of Capri.
One thing that did interest us was the splendid library dealing with the immortal achievements of those indomitable adventurers of the far north whose supreme purpose was to reach Asia by sailing westward over a northern route. And, if you turn back the pages of your history you will remember there were three routes under consideration - the route over the North Pole on the far side of Greenland between Greenland and Spitzbergen. Then there was the northeast passage which was vainly attempted by Henry Hudson. Thirdly, the northwest passage. The northwest passage divided itself into two routes - through the Davis Strait, discovered by John Davis, intrepid British explorer in 1587, or through Hudson Strait; and once through the Strait there were two possible routes: north through the Fox Channel or across Hudson Bay to a possible opening on the west side.
One of the most intrepid explorers in British history was William Baffin. In the year 1609 the North West Company sent Baffin out to find the northwest passage. He crossed the ocean, went up on the west side of Greenland to the top of Baffin Bay. When he got to the top of that huge bay he was blocked by the ice so he turned south until he came to Lancaster Sound. At Lancaster Sound he saw the Inlet, but he also saw the range of ice-clad mountains and thinking it was an impassable barrier he came out and went home.
Now, the interesting fact is that not for 200 years, not until England had fought her civil wars, lost her colonies to America, and shipped Napoleon to St. Helena, did any British ship venture into the north again. When Britain had won the battle of Trafalgar and had certainly established her position as Mistress of the Seas, she thought of other worlds to conquer and she dreamed of the north. She followed her dreams with ships and in 1818 the British Admiralty sent out an expedition of 'four ships, two to go up the east side of Greenland, crossing the pole, and the other two to go up through Davis Strait, where Baffin went two centuries before, and they were to meet on the other side of the world. The ships that went into Davis Strait were under the command of Ross. He, too, was blocked by the ice and turned south just as Baffin did. He felt that he couldn't get through Lancaster Sound and so went home again. All the hydrographic and meteorological surveys carried on by Ross on that expedition meant nothing. The nation that had sent the little corporal into exile would brook no failure, so Ross was shelved, but his second in command was Captain Parry. Parry felt that they never should have gone home so Parry was sent out. He carried provisions for three years and among the provisions were pickles and sauer kraut and vinegar, antiscorbutics, and when I came to that page in history - and we had lots of time to read during the three months-I realized why on the "Nascopie" we had a very generous supply of lime juice which we drank, morning, noon and night, as something which would prevent us suffering from the disease of scurvy.
Parry made three expeditions in which he carried the flag of his nation half way around the world. In 1824 Ross was given another commission and with him went his nephew, and it was the younger Ross that discovered the north Magnetic Pole. One day he noticed his compass dip to 89 degrees and 59 minutes. He had made a great discovery. He erected a cairn of stones but he wished that nature had left a mark, mighty as Sinbad's fabled mountain, to denote the place of one of her dark powers. The goal of Ross was King William's Island. But it was the starting point of Sir John Franklin, I presume the greatest explorer of all time. You will remember that Sir John Franklin's first expedition was over land. He came out to New York and journeyed to what is today Toronto and in this wonderful city he was entertained by the Governor, Sir John Colborne. Following the reception he went up Yonge Street to Newmarket and Holland Landing, Severn and on to Georgian Bay. Then natives took him by canoe across the water to the 500 to Fort William and Fort Garry and followed the prairie system of rivers and lakes until one day he saw the waters of the Arctic Ocean.
Going back to England he was knighted for his achievement and made Governor of Van Dieman's Land-this diplomatic appointment rather bored a man of the temperament of Sir John Franklin.
Some years later the British Government decided to send another expedition to conquer this great empire of the far north and Franklin offered his services. They said to him, "Sir John, you are too old. You are fiftynine years of age," but when he persisted they appointed this ageing but experienced Saint George to go and do battle against the mighty dragon of the north and in July of 1845 the "Terror" and the "Erebus" went forth. A few weeks later a whaler saw a ship moored to an iceberg off the Greenland Coast; it was one of the ships of the Franklin Expedition. It was the last time they were seen by civilized main and the historian has written the closing chapter very vividly when he says: "Fitz
James was the second in command. After the death oif his last remaining companion, Fitz James was all alone in a terrible world. Gazing around him in mute despair, the sole living thing in a frozen universe. The setting sun looks back to see the last wretched victim die. He meets her sinister gaze with a steady eye as if bidding her defiance. For a few minutes they glare at each other, then the curtain is drawn and all is dark."
Well, Gentlemen, when I walked in and out of our wireless cabin I would say to myself, "What a pity it is that they didn't have such things in Franklin's 'day! If they had, a message could have been winged through space and ice-breakers like the "Nascopie" could have ploughed through the ice field to rescue them, but because they lacked these wonders of modern scientific invention a precious bit of humanity was allowed to perish in the unknown.
As we journeyed north and watched all the activity of the unloading of freight and all the business of the. various ports, the question came, "Why all this? Why send expeditions? Why have mounties in the north, and Hudson's Bay men?" And the answer is just one word, "Fur." The great industry of the north is the fur industry. In fact it has been well said that the beaver is the empire builder of Canada.
You remember that in 1497 Cabot came out from England and planted the cross of St. George on Cape Breton Island and when he went back again he told of these fishing banks of, the "new found land" where the fish were so plentiful that they didn't catch them in nets, they caught them in baskets? This was very important news to Catholic Europe with their many meatless days, so in a short space of time many ships from France and other parts of Europe were going out to the new found land. When England turned Protestant and substituted roast beef for fish, England was no longer interested in the fishing banks. In fact, some one has said the Reformation shook the fish business to its very foundations.
In 1603 there were hundreds of French fishing boats off the Newfoundland Coast and it became apparent, if these lands of the new world were to be colonized, they would be colonized by the French and not by the British. The fishermen caught the fish, placed them on the drying platforms and cut them open with the impressive fish knives. The Indians who came noticed the knives and said to themselves, "If we only had some of these knives it would give up power and prestige in the tribe." So they went away and came back with fur and the best fur they had was the beaver and so they exchanged a beaver skin for a fisherman's knife, and thus there came to birth a system of barter which has continued down through the centuries.
Away up in the far north there are no beavers and no Indians. The fur is the white fox. The natives, the Eskimos, bring in harvests of furs which are baled and brought out and sent to Beaver House, London, England, headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company. When they bring their furs to the post the Hudson's Bay Manager says: "that skin is worth five, ten or fifteen beaver." The beaver is the unit of currency and the trader gives the Eskimo a little metal coin with the figures five, ten or fifteen stamped on it. With this token the natives go to the Hudson's Bay Company and secure clothing, ammunition, food and so forth.
Soon it became evident in the early days that if France was to colonize the land of the St. Lawrence and the region of Acadia, it wouldn't be for the sake of fish, it would be for the sake of fur.
You remember how Dryden puts it
"Friend once twos fame that sent thee forth To brave the tropic heat, the frozen north, Late, it was gold then beauty was the spur, But now, our gallants venture forth for fur."
But something happened that changed the course of history in the new world. The victory of Wolfe put an end to the dream of a French Empire in America; and the organization of the Hudson's Bay Company proved disastrous to the activities of the company of New France which had a monopoly of the fur business. Yet, it is interesting to note that two Frenchmen had much to do with the organization of the Hudson's Bay Company - Radisson and Sieur de Groseilliers. The English people couldn't pronounce Radisson and Groseilliers, so they called them Radishes and Gooseberry. These two men went to the head of the Great Lakes in the region of Lake Superior, traded with the Indians for furs. For this illicit trading they were fined $10,000. They went back to their native France and sought restitution, but in vain. They crossed the Channel to England and sought the influence of the court of Charles but without success. Fortunately they contacted Prince Rupert who listened to their story and interceded in their behalf with the King, and the next year two ships went out under the command of these two men. When they came to Hudson Strait, Radisson lost heart and turned back. Groseilliers went through the Strait down to the southern end of Hudson Bay to what is now James Bay and there built a palisaded fort and named it after King Charles. The next year he returned to England with a shipload of furs.
Then it was easy to get the charter - and what a charter it was! It was written on the skins of animals; and it gave to the Company the sole commerce of all those seas, straits and bays, rivers, lakes, creeks and sounds; with fishing of all sorts and all mines of gold, silver, gems and precious stones discovered and undiscovered and made them absolute lords and proprietors of all the seas and lakes and streams etc. in the Hudson Bay and straits thereof, and so forth.
So it was that York Factory became the great fur capital of the north. The Hudson's Bay Company sent out their first outfit and it contained "two hundred fowling-pieces, powder and shot, two hundred brass kettles, twelve gross of knives and a thousand hatchets." This is the interesting thing: When we went north, every box, bag and crate was marked: "Outfit Number 266," indicating that for two and three-quarter centuries, the Hudson's Bay Company has never failed to send outfits into the north to trade with the natives and bring back a harvest of furs.
This year on the "Nascopie" we had everything from needles to motor boats. When I saw the motor boats being loaded and handed to the Eskimos, I said, "Do you mean to tell me that an Eskimo can afford a motor boat?" and they replied, "Don't you understand that sometimes they have $1,500 worth of credit in a single year. They don't allow anything to stay on the books. They take everything that is coming to them, not because they distrust the Hudson's Bay Company, for the words, `ProPelle Cutem' are on the coat of arms of the Hudson's Bay Company, `the skin for the fur,' and in the estimation of the Eskimo, that represents a square deal."
More important than the lands we visited were the people, and, of course, all the natives of the Eastern Arctic are Eskimos. It is an Indian word. The Indians despised the Eskimo, so they called them Eskimos - "eaters of raw flesh" - but the Eskimo calls himself "Innuit." Last year in his Silver Jubilee Celebration, His Late Majesty, King George, sent a message to his loyal and beloved Innuit. There is no doubt they came from Asia across the Bering Sea. There is nothing at all in their manner of fife, appearance or makeup or habits or general philosophy of life to indicate any solitary kinship between the Eskimo and the Indian. They are as far apart as the poles are asunder. The Eskimo crossed from Asia with his stone implements, his bow and arrow, his skin clothing and the skin boots. By the way, when the skin boots which the mounties, traders and natives wear get wet, they become hard as flint, then it is the work of the Eskimo women to chew them soft again and the women's teeth are worn right down to the gums as a result of the persistent chewing of the seal skin.
The features of the Eskimos, their high cheek bones, black eyes, sleek black hair, their picture writing, their hieroglyphics seem very much like the writing of the Egyptians their implements and weapons all indicate and prove conclusively the Mongolian origin of the Eskimo. There are 33,000 of them in the world, most of them in Alaska and Greenland, but 7,000 are living in the Eastern Arctic.
The Eskimos are hunters and in summer live in skin tents. In the winter, when hunting, they reside in igloos. It has been said that they don't use the igloos any more.
They do and the mounties use them, for when the mountie is on patrol he has no shelter but the igloos. The natives take their harpoons and find where there is depth and there cut out the blocks of frozen snow. They build in a circle and bevel the edges of the blocks so that the igloo is shaped like a bee-hive. It takes about sixty minutes to build a snow house. They don't use an old snow house if they pass that way again. An old snow house is cold and clammy and a new one is so delightfully comfortable and warm. One half of the floor is raised to form a platform and then they put down skins. The mounties tell me that in their sleeping bags they are quite comfortable and in a very few minutes are sound asleep.
The thing that impressed me with regard to the Eskimo was his very high standard of culture, and his ingenuity in adapting the things about him to provide the means whereby to live. For instance, he goes out in his sealskin boat to hunt the seals in order to get the skins to construct the skin boats to go and hunt the seals. His clothes are of sealskin. He uses the walrus blubber as meat for his dogs, and seal oil, for his stone lamp. He uses the tusks of the walrus for the end of his harpoon with which to go out and hunt some more walrus. They have on the end of the harpoon a flint tip and when they throw it, it penetrates the back of the mammal. The harpoon floats away and the native goes up with a spear and finishes the job and then goes out and retrieves his harpoon.
Of course, they are eaters of raw flesh. I don't see anything very objectionable to that, when you see them doing it - not any more than they would think of us were they to see us eating watermelon. They carve the salmon trout in cutlets and eat it as we eat our watermelon, and throw the skin away. It has been said that they are not very clean in their habits. I saw one little fellow when he had finished eating the fish he threw the skin away, went down and washed his hands, cupped the water in his hand and leaned over and washed off his mouth, wiped off his hands on a rock and leaned over again and wiped off his mouth, using the same rock for a towel. What about their general life, their religious life? I noticed in the paper yesterday morning that Bishop Turquetil had received the Legion of Honour from France for the great work he had 'done in the Eastern Arctic in his diocese of 1,500,000 square miles. The Anglicans are doing a great work under the leadership of Bishop Fleming.
General health conditions - how about that? It is only when a doctor comes on the "Nascopie" that many of the people have any medical attention. If I were to draw a circle, starting north of Cartwright, going up to the top of the world and completing a circle, containing millions of square miles of territory, I would indicate an area where there are only two doctors, one at Pangnirtung and the other at Chesterfield Inlet.
The general health of natives and also of the mounties and the Hudson's Bay men is generally good. Sometimes disease is aggravated by neglect. There was a case of a little Eskimo fellow ten years of age. Dr. Rabinowitch examined him and his foot was black with gangrene from the ankle down. His temperature was 104 degrees and the doctor was sure that he was going to die. He tried to give him an anaesthetic but without success. I took a chocolate bar and broke it into little pieces and put bits of the chocolate on the tongue of the little fellow while Dr. Rabinowitch lanced the wound. To get at the wound, the doctor had to cut right down to the bone. I never saw such courage as displayed by that little fellow. At three in the afternoon when the doctor went back again his temperature had gone down to nearly normal and the boy had a splendid chance of recovery. The tragedy of it was that we sailed away that night and not until the expedition arrives next year will it be known whether he recovered or not.
At Pond's Inlet we saw an old man who had had trouble with his foot. He was sixty-five years of age.
Last year his foot had been frozen and in the Spring it was not doing weld. One day he found a rusty hack saw and cut the foot off at the instep, taking out the diseased bones. We saw the bones on a shelf inside his tent. The wound had healed, it was just a little red and inflamed in one place, and with a chuckle the old fellow put on his sock and went out to help in the unloading of the freight.
One place a little further south the doctor went to a tent and came hurrying out to say that a little babe would be born in a few hours. Later in the day when the doctor came on board the ship he said, "It's a girl." As we sailed away Bishop Fleming called over the side of the ship to the missionary of the post. "When the baby is baptized give it, as one of its Christian names, "Rab." This was in honour of Dr. Rabinowitch for it was the first time in the history of the whole of Baffin Land that a doctor was present at the birth df a child.
Now, a word about the dogs. I could have brought home a little husky pup but I knew what he would grow to be. The dogs are very fearsome brutes. They are good servants but everything crawling upon the ground belongs to the husky. When you walk along the slippery rocks, beware you do not slip and fall. Carry a rock so the dog will be warned against your action. Four or five years ago the wife of one of the mounties was carrying titbits to the dogs which she had brought up from puppyhood. She tripped on a rock and before help came the dogs had torn and frightfully mauled her. The mounties and natives use a thirty foot whip which they crack on the flanks of the team which is spread out fan shape. But they are marvellous animals. Everywhere the mountie and the missionary go depends on the quantity of dog meat available, and those dogs will carry 1,000 pounds of freight one hundred miles in 24 hours over the hummocky ice.
No message is complete without a reference to the mounties. The mounties' reputation for fearless determination in the cause of justice is admired throughout the whole world, but up in the north he is a man of parts. He has to be doctor and surgeon, nurse and tax collector, sheriff and customs officer and coroner. No human activity is beyond him. He raises dogs, he washes and cooks and builds houses, but over and above everything else his supreme consideration is the maintenance of law and order and the great slogan of the north country is, "When in trouble go and tell the police."
Our most northerly point was Craig Harbour and while we sit here this afternoon there are two mounties there - Paddy Hamilton and Grant McWhirter, and by the way, McWhirter is a first cousin of the speaker you had here on your Kipling Day-Dr. George Pidgeon, of this city. When we said goodbye that September night and saw them go away in their motor boat we knew it was their last contact with civilization until' the ship returned next September. In that lonely outpost like others of the Force in other places, they stand guard for Canada. Half way down Baffin Land we saw a young King's Scout - a Hudson's Bay manager, living alone at his post, without contact with any other white men the year round. He thought he could sketch; he had no pigments - but he had some house paint: he had no canvas but he had some biscuit boxes: He had no brush but he pulled out some of his strong black hair and made brushes and he painted a picture which he sent down last year to the National Gallery. Of course, it doesn't hang there but this last year the National Gallery of Canada sent, as their gift to young Knapp, King's Scout manager of the Hudson's Ray Company, some canvasses and a set of paints and brushes. (Applause.)
Gentlemen, it is to such as these, traders, doctors, missionaries, mounties that the vast continent of the far north proffers her hand when she says:
Send me men, girt for the combat, Send me men that are grit to the core, Give me the best of your breeding,
Lend me your chosen ones Them will I take to my bosom, Them will I call my sons,
But I will not be won by weaklings, Subtle, suave, mild,
But by men with hearts o f Vikings And the simple faith o f a child. (Applause.)
MR. BRACE: Gentlemen, we have come to the close of another year in the history of The Empire Club of Canada. I wish to extend my personal thanks and appreciation for the co-operation that has been extended to me by the members of the Club, by the Executive and by the officers.
Shortly, I am going to call upon our President-Elect, Major Gordon B. Balfour, K.C. who has two brief and important announcements to make to you.
I am sure I am expressing a feeling of gratitude from all of you when I say how much we appreciate the address which the Honourable W. G. Martin has just given to us. (Applause.) Too many of us, I think, have learned our geography from Bay Street and we have looked upon Northern. Canada as that zone where there is supposed to be at times, gold, silver and other precious metals hound. Today, we learn again that that part of our territory is in Southern Canada and when we want to think of the northern zone we have to think of the fur zone. I think we have had today an address which brings back many of those things that we thought of in our youth and that we have forgotten. It brings to us the expanse of this great country of ours such as we have not realized in many years and on your behalf I extend to Mr. Martin our very sincere thanks. (Applause.)
I will ask Major Balfour now to present the subject that he has for you.
MAJOR GORDON B. BALFOUR, K.C.: Gentlemen: In view of the statements appearing in the press during the past week regarding the possibility of amalgamation of the Empire Club of Canada and the Toronto Branch of the Canadian Club, it is necessary for me to make some statement to define our position.
Colonel Bishop, the retiring President of the Canadian Club, as he himself explained, was merely referring to personal conversations with individual members of the committee and no official representation has at any time been made to the Empire Club, so that there is nothing before us to consider.
No doubt unintentionally, the impression was created that the Empire Club was formed by discontented members of the Canadian Club. I believe that this impression should be corrected without delay.
The Empire Club of Canada was formed in 1903 by a group of men who thought there was some necessity for emphasizing in every possible way the part that Canada plays in a United Empire and it was for that reason that the Club was formed and it was because of that, that the Club was given its name.
Speaking only for myself, I suggest that there has been no time when there was a greater need for emphasis on our relationship to the Empire than at the present time, (Applause) and in my opinion, if no club having the ideals of the Empire Club existed today, there would be reason to organize such a Club as we now have for the very purpose for which it was originally created.
Our associations with the Canadians Club have always been most friendly and we believe that they are serving a very great purpose, in many respects similar to that of our own Club, but we believe that we are fulfilling a function which it would be most unwise in any way to restrict.
Should a practical scheme be devised to provide for an amalgamation which would be consistent with the name and ideals of this Club, it would, of course, receive serious consideration,
In case there may be any doubt in the minds of the members, I may say that no official action has been taken, nor is there any intention on the part of the officials of this Club to take any action without full regard to the principles of this Club which has established such a proud position in Canada. (Applause.)
We have to be proud of the Empire Club in another respect, and this is my second statement, and that is the position it now occupies financially.
At our Annual Meeting, when the business of the Club is transacted, we have in the past adopted a policy of not giving the financial statement to the members but have referred them to the Year Book when published. It has been convenient for the past few years to have it done in that way, but I think this year the members ought to be apprised of the fact that we have, for the first time since the disastrous loss of the surplus through the failure of the Home Bank, a substantial surplus, and our finances are in such good shape that we have provided for all the outstanding contingencies, including the very expensive publication of the Year Book, and yet we have a substantial surplus. (Applause.)
Now, it is very gratifying for us to be in this enviable position and I think that I am correct in stating that we as members of the Empire Club of Canada owe this almost entirely to the efforts of one man. That is our Honorary Secretary, Mr. Hubert F. Powell. (Applause.)
It is now going to be my great pleasure to make a small presentation to Mr. Powell, as a token of our appreciation. Will Mr. Powell approach the Head Table, please ?
. . . Mr. Powell presented with a silver tray and tea service ...
In presenting you with this silver service, I can't do better than read what has been inscribed upon it and which will make it a valuable antique for future generations
"To Hubert F. Powell, Esquire,
Honorary Secretary of The Empire Club of Canada Presented at a General Meeting of the members on the 30th of April, 1936, in recognition of his efficient and faithful services in the interests of the Club.
Mr. Powell, I am sure the members of the Club would like to hear you express your appreciation.
MR. H. F. POWELL: Mr. Chairman and members of the Empire Club: You could knock me over with a feather. I am rather embarrassed at this great surprise, but I will say that in the past two years if I have helped and assisted in the Club„ it has been quite a pleasure to me and an enjoyable one.
This presentation here before me is too beautiful for words. About all I can say, now is that I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for this beautiful gift. (Applause.)