A SURVEY OF THE EMPIRE: ITS PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS
AN ADDRESS By BRIG. GEN. C. H. MITCHELL, C.B.,
C.M.G., D.S.O., PRESIDENT OF THE EMPIRE CLUB,
At the Annual Meeting, January 12, 1922.
Gentlemen,--I suppose that in some ways, it is hardly fitting that the President of a Club like this should take upon himself the prerogative of speaking on such a large question; but yet I have felt that, with the advantage which we have had here during the past year and the year before, of hearing a number of eminent speakers from all parts of the Empire logically and in sequence describe the problems which are before us in different parts of the Empire, we do feel a certain degree of familiarity with the problems and the prospects of the Empire as it is today. For myself, I have had the good fortune at various times, in the last few years to have a certain degree of contact with gentlemen who have to do with affairs of the Empire and who have been doing things in the Empire; and perhaps that advantage has had some reflection in my own views, which I may be permitted to pass on to you in a very general and imperfect way.
It is a pretty hard thing to compress into the allotted time for the speaker at Club meetings, a trip around the Empire. We will have to take a sort of aeroplane photograph as we pass by, to thus present to you several features in each part of the Empire.
I want to start by a quick run over to the old country, with which you are so familiar. I want to take you across the Atlantic, up the Mersey to Liverpool, and then down to London and to Euston Station. Many of you have done that just as I have described; then you have come down from Euston to Trafalgar Square, then along the Strand, and then down to St. Paul's, the heart of Empire, then to the Bank and the City-and, thank God, it is still The City in the British Empire, and it is still the centre of the finance of the world. (Hear, hear and applause) Then I want to take you into the Mansion House, and back along the embankment up to the Houses of Parliament to hear Big-Ben strike 12 o'clock noon, and then up Whitehall past the War Office and the Admiralty, 'then up Piccadilly, down to Buckingham Palace, and back across the green park to the Ministers and to Downing Street. And then I want to introduce you to that grand old man, Lloyd George, (applause) and remind you of the book called "The Mirrors of Downing Street", written by an unknown author not long ago. When you read that, as many of you have done, you realize what the problems and the prospects of the Empire have been and are today.
The problems of Great Britain are very much the problems of the Empire, and in the last two years Lloyd George and those splendid men beside him have had to wrestle with the problems of internal affairs at home as well as external affairs abroad. They have had to work out the problem of the unemployed and the unemployable. They have had to work out the problem of the poor; and you know there is a programme now in Great Britain, mostly in England, for building 200,000 houses to help out the housing of the poor. Then there has been the problem of re-establishing trade, and the questions of efficiency and work hours, and the pet question of pay without work, which perhaps has been one of the greatest difficulties they have had to deal with in the old country.
Then we must go over to Ireland. I do not know what one can say. One could say a great deal; perhaps the least said the better at the moment; but this we do realize that, notwithstanding the difficulties which there have been in the last few months, it looks very much now as if the end were in sight and a fairly peaceable solution is being worked out. What the next few months will bring, who can tell? But, after all, we do realize that the problem of Ireland is largely a problem of what the Irish people make it themselves. (Hear, hear) Everybody agrees that Great Britain and the Empire at large has done everything--more than everything--to help them from the outside, and I suppose they are making up their minds; but who is going to say 'that they will be satisfied after they have done so? It rather reminds me of the story-this time of a Scotchman who had always been grousing during his life-time, and when finally he died and had gone to Heaven he was met by his friend Donald on the golden streets, who came up to him in great glee and said, "Well, Sandy, surely you are happy now, you have got everything you want; no more grousing from you?" With that Sandy looked dourly at him and, pulling off his halo, said, "Well, noo, do you ca' that a fit?" (Laughter)
Then there has been in England and the Empire generally, the whole question of the re-establishment of our commercial supremacy. Anyone who has followed the situation during the War and after cannot help but feel that the political considerations which have to be met in the old country and in 'the Empire are largely and inseparably connected with the question of economics.
In October Mr. Lloyd George introduced in Parliament perhaps one of the most constructive measures which has been presented for some time, at any rate since the War. Much is hoped for. It is difficult to foresee what may come out of it. That legislation you will all remember, was, first, relief work on a large scale which he proposed to carry out to take the place of those payments to the out-of-works who were being paid without doing any work. The second was his arrangement for getting suitable men out of the country and into the Overseas Dominions and getting them settled on the land. We have heard of that before in Canada; while that would apply, of course, to Canada I think it is mainly designed for Australia. The third thing which he proposed was what he called export credits, for the purpose of enabling industrial and commercial concerns in the old country to deal with the overseas dominions through the help of loans, moneys advanced to them by the Imperial Government It is pretty hard for us at this distance to see just how that may work out. Undoubtedly it will help them in the old country, and it will doubtless help us here; but the great point about it and about those various measures that he did bring out was this-that if we are going to export from the old country and interchange with the overseas dominions, men on the one hand and capital on the other, it will help not only the old country itself but the overseas dominions as well. (Applause) I want to pass on to you the expression he used-that credit is oxygen for trade; not its food, but its energizer. Those of us who are in business know what that means.
I spoke a moment ago about the War Office. Using that term in the broadest sense, as applying to the whole British Imperial Army and its military operations, I suppose that the work done by the War Office was just as fine as we could get out of the capabilities and efforts of the British Empire, out of the quality of our courage, the quality of our people and their efficiency. Speaking of that effort, I will never forget one day in September, 1918, when I was back in England on leave from Italy. I went into the Imperial General Staff Offices to talk with my old chief, General Harington. He was by himself in a room nearly half the size of this and appeared in the best of spirits. In his great enthusiasm, walking up and down he said-using his old expression-" Mitch, we are fighting today on twenty-two fronts." Now, Gentlemen, that is the measure of the British Empire. (Applause) The following Spring, when I happened to come in again, sometime in May, 1919, after the peace, after Versailles, he did the same thing, but not quite in the same way. He said, "You know, today we are still fighting on six fronts in Russia alone." And since that time we have continued fighting--not any of our making at all--but we have had to do it on twice that number of fronts I suppose, in eastern Europe and in central Asia. That is the measure of the effort which the British Empire has put forth from the heart in London, from Whitehall and Downing Street. Just in passing I want to bring to your attention the fact that within the last week we have received news that Lord Cavan, our old friend who spoke to us at the last meeting of this Club, has now been appointed Chief of the Imperial General Staff to succeed Sir Henry Wilson. (Applause)
It is an easy thing to turn for a moment to what has been happening down in Washington-Washington with its Limitation of Armaments Conference. You may remember that Lord Cavan, when he was here the other day, corrected the expression we had used at the meeting of the Empire Club by saying, "It is not a Disarmament Conference, it is a conference for the Limitation of Armaments." You will remember what Lord Cavan said was expected to be the outcome of the Conference at Washington. At that time there was great hope, and notwithstanding what we have since heard and read, there is still great hope, when one considers the great effort that is being made, genuinely being made, by the people who are there by the unity of purpose, by the desire to get on with it and get through with it, by the desire to get everybody together. That unity of purpose is most exemplified, I think, in the attitude of the British who, I found when I was at Washington a few weeks ago, are the ones who are unifying that conference, who are taking the others sympathetically by the arm and saying, "Come on, let us get on with it." They are the ones who have been trying and have succeeded in getting discordant notes toned down and discordant feelings smoothed out, and the ones who are really the energy behind the conference to get everybody into line as only Anglo-Saxons can. (Applause)
Now then, for the Empire around the world. It is not a question of armament now; it is not the question of disarmament; it is a question of how we are going to ensure the peace. It is a question of how we are going to get on now with the business of the Empire; and if there is any one thing that comes out of this Armament Conference at Washington it will be that it will ensure to the British Empire, to the Anglo-Saxon people, and to the world, a respite of peace, and an assurance that during the next ten years we are going to be able to get on with our ordinary business and will be through with this bickering and strife over things that are not real business. The business of the Empire is our trade and our commerce on the seven seas; and to Canada, the golden link, how much does that mean to us? How much does that mean to the various parts of the Empire? Empire trade and the seven seas! I would like to read two or three stanzas of that splendid poem written by Rudyard Kipling twenty years ago
"Our brows are bound with spindrift and the weed is on our knees;
Our loins are battered 'neath us by the swinging smoking seas.
From reef and rock and skerry--over headland, ness and voe-
The Coastwise Lights of England watch the ships of England go."
"Come ,up, come in from Eastward, from the guardports of the morn!
Beat up, beat in from Southerly, O Gipsies of the Horn!
Swift shuttles of an Empire's loom that weave us main to main
The Coastwise Lights of England give you welcome back again!"
"Go, get you gone up Channel with the sea crust on your plates
Go, get you into London with the burden of your freights!
Haste, for they talk of Empire there, and say, if any seek, The Lights of England sent you and by silence shall ye speakl"
That was more than twenty years ago. It is more so today with the war and all its five years behind us.
Now, for our quick journey through the Empire. Let us start off from the old country to the Mediterranean, stopping a moment at Malta, and remember that the grand old man that is living there and running that little rocky islet is our old friend Lord Plumer of Messiers. Let us remember that within a year after he got there, with the assistance of Colonel Amery, who was here with us last year and who is almost a Canadian, they gave to the Maltese their first constitution; and that act is just about as good an indication of the tendency of the times in the Empire as anything could be, because the note today throughout the British Empire in all its various parts is the note of autonomous government; and that little island has now its own government, but under the control and under the advisement of the British.
Now to Egypt. I can only take a few minutes with each of these eastern countries because you will remember the various addresses we have had recently. Egypt, as far as we are concerned, started its history after our war in 1882. During the last few years the British have endeavoured to govern the country, and to give the Egyptians a species of responsible government in which their own people were assisting. But there came an unrest following after the war, which culminated in 1919, and the result of it has been that difficulties have arisen with regard to this very point of autonomous government, and as recently as last summer the commission of Egyptians went to England to try to arrange the details of that autonomous government. Unfortunately they have come back without the arrangement completed, and the whole thing appears to be condensed down to a situation similar in some respects to that in Ireland, wherein they are quarreling among themselves, not with the British, as to how they are going to have their government arranged. This trouble, which caused great difficulty last month in Egypt, one can easily see is not directed against the British. The British are simply the pulse of the country. The trouble lies between two factions, the extremists and-the moderates of the native people. Now, with the efforts the British are making, given time, given coolness, given everybody's cooperation, in due course they will undoubtedly get sorted out, and these troubles will disappear.
Now with regard to Palestine, which is next in the chain. Palestine fell to us as a legacy arising out of the war. I don't think anyone will say it was of our seeking, or that we tried a process of alienation. Our enemies may say so, but undoubtedly the end of Turkish rule has come in Palestine, and that is what everybody wanted. While speaking of that, I would like to divert for a moment. I don't think any incident connected with that country struck me so much as in 1918 when I was in London on leave, and several of us were walking through the old Middle Temple-the Law Courts. In the old church, in which I expect many of you have been, you will remember there are lying a number of stone tombs with recumbent marble figures of the crusaders of 500 years ago on the top. It was just about a month after Lord Allenby had entered Jerusalem, and someone with a high sense of the world responsibility and the effort of the British Empire said, "This is the first time after all these centuries, the only time, that the Crusaders, now their British successors have succeeded in carrying out what they set out to do 500 years ago. Let us show it!"-and they came and put green palms across the breasts of those stone crusaders. (Applause) That, Gentlemen, was the spirit of the British Nation.
Then another instance that had its rather humorous side was one I ran into in connection with my intelligence work in the east. You will remember that the Arabs, very much oppressed in Palestine, were always great people for prophecies. Anything that they can twist into a prophecy is a thing that they love to pass on. There arose a prophecy years ago, apparently in the days of the oppression by the Turks, when they never could see an end to it. There arose a prophecy to this effect,"The Turkish rule will end, only when the waters of the Nile flow into the Jordan." Well, of course, that looked like an impossibility. But what happened? You will remember that as the British pushed their way across the desert, with the railway as their line of communication, they pushed alongside of the railway tracks an eight-inch iron water-pipe; that followed the troops, just as the railway did. After the battle of Gaza, in which Lord Allenby had such great success, the British advanced, got over the height of land and within sight of Jerusalem, and carried the water pipe line with them. Then suddenly the Arabs realized what had happened. You can depend upon it that the British concerned with that operation--and the Intelligence Department was not the least part of it--took every advantage of the situation, and there went through the enemies lines and the enemy's camps as quickly as wildfire the sudden realization that the prophecy had come true-the waters of the Nile were really flowing into the Jordan. (Laughter and applause)
The mandate for Palestine is rather a difficult one. We undertook to put the Jews back in Palestine. We undertook to make Palestine as Jewish as England is English; but I am not so sure that our people at home realized what it meant. I am not so sure that they realized all that it meant to the Arabs, because at the same time that our people's interests are to be safeguarded, the interests of the Arabs must be safe-guarded. But the Arabs turned around and said, "We have lived here thousands of years; we lived here long before the Jews ever came here; it is our country; what are you going to do about it." That is a difficulty we have in Palestine. It is a protectorate; we have to protect it; we have to carry out that mandate. How it is going to be done is pretty difficult to say, but there is a prospect, and a reasonable one, that by British co-operation and adroitness they will be able to find a middle course between the Jews and the Arabs, and in the end get a reasonably stable government in which both will participate.
Now to Mesopotamia. There, too, we had a mandate. There are those of our enemies who said that we are after the oil. That may be, for it might be one of the means of helping us to recoup the great cost of the war in the east. But we must bear in mind that Mesopotamia is not a rich country; it is questionable whether its resources are what people think. We know there is oil, and that there are also great possibilities for agriculture after money is spent in irrigation works. The country is so large that we have found already, after an expenditure of ten millions of pounds for military occupation, that we cannot adequately hold it against outside aggression; and everyone knows that we have had to withdraw our armies. The inside history of it is that the thing is costing so much that it is a question how long it should be maintained; so now we are simply trying to police it, and you will have seen by the papers the other day that we are endeavouring to do it by means of airplanes. How that will succeed, who will know? But the whole point is that we will have to spend money and effort to get the Arabs to work, and to work with us. We will have to try to give them a stable government in which they themselves will be to a large extent the controlling factor. With that object, they were asked if they would not like to have a king, and they said, yes. The British said, "Who would you like to have?" The answer was found in Omar Feisal, from Syria, who had come in, and who is quite acceptable, for the most part, to the people of Mesopotamia.
I think I shall take the risk of prolonging my talk to tell a little story about that as well. At the time when our military work there was at its height it became necessary for a certain very influential Arab tribe to be approached by our people, to make sure that they would not throw their influence in with the enemy, and if possible that they would throw their influence in with us. The person who was selected to .be the envoy to the Arab Sheik was a woman, a Scotch lady about 30 or 35 years old, who had been for many years in the foreign office, who had been out in India and the east, and who was familiar with Mesopotamia. She had been taken by the British Military Service back to the east, and was working in the Indian Intelligence Service. She was suddenly selected to go as the envoy to try to influence this Arab Shiek and his tribe. She went, and met the Arab Sheik at a rendezvous, and told him a lot of things about our situation, asked him a lot of questions, and created a certain psychological condition in his mind. She did not tell him, of course, that we were hard pressed neither did she tell him that we had a whole lot of reinforcements coming up-which was not the fact; but she left him to infer it; and with her woman's tactfulness she created an impression on this man's mind so that he went back to leis tribe, made them a grand speech, and influenced his entire tribe to come in with us. (Applause) But the point of the story is this, that a year or more afterwards, when everything got cleared up and the inside history began to be known-which of course she did not know about-it was discovered that in this wonderful speech which the Arab Sheik made to his tribe out in the sands of the desert he told about the remarkable envoy which the British had sent, and he kept them in suspense for some time until finally he divulged to them that it was a woman; and as he watched the curling of their lips a little bit in derision, he described to them what a wonderful person she was; then he said, "Gentlemen, if their women are so marvellous my God, what must their men be?" (Laughter and applause)
Now to India. My time is going fast, and I am afraid I will not keep up to my time-table of forty minutes around the world. (Voices-"Go on") History shows that as far as the British underlying principles of government by the people are concerned, these have been observed for sixty or seventy years back, and in various periods of about ten years' interval there has been an impetus towards a new form or additional form of government. Lastly, in 1892, there came a period of very considerable expansion, and in 1912-twenty years later -after those years of trial, it was found that popular representation by the natives could influence the government of India but could not determine its policy. They discovered that, and the British knew it. Of course that was what caused the very considerable unrest just before the war. Then came the war, and with it a series of conditions which had very much accentuated the situation, as you have heard in the various addresses given before this Club in the last twelve months.
There were three principal causes. I think you will perhaps remember the way Mr. Rustomjee put this in speaking to the Club not long ago. He said that one cause was economic, another was religious, and the third was political. The economic cause was due primarily to the war-the depletion of supplies for the war in Mesopotamia and the east, and the various difficulties due to famine and monsoons by which prices of commodities rose. The religious causes were very complex. In the early days of the British occupation, in their endeavour to educate the people according to their policy, they ran counter to the feelings of the great educated class of India, the Brahmin, who had heretofore been the means of education. As the younger generation became educated, the Brahmins discovered the loss of their influence with the younger generation, and were consequently dissatisfied. That was one branch of the discontent. The other branch was the Mohammedan. When you remember that there are tens of millions of Mohammedans in India, and that they are part of a huge Mohammedan world which is centred in Europe, Africa and Asia, and when you remember that the Mohammedans constitute a body greater in the world than the Christians, you realize what that means to us of the British Empire. Mohammedans, for example, Turkey and Constantinople, in the great war, fought against British Empire troops from various parts of the world, including India. You can understand the attitude of the Mohammedan towards the British on the broad principle. After various inducements offered by the Germans, the Mohammedans believed that the great war was directed against the Moslem Church, and of course the result was obvious. They naturally sought how they could make it difficult for the British in India. As happens on such occasions, they sought the various bodies of discontent which were surrounding the British rule in India, and they immediately linked up the Brahmins and the Mohammedans-a curious combination of opposing forces united by a common danger.
Now, in fact, under such conditions with Constantinople and Turkey asserting their power, the situation becomes difficult, and they endeavour in various ways to regain their old prestige. The danger of that situation is quite obvious, from the fact that the Mohammedans have such a tremendous influence in the Near East.
Leaving that for a moment, and coming to the political causes, one has only to draw attention to the effort that has been made during the last few years, and particularly in 1919, by the British to give the people of India some measure of autonomous government. You will remember the Montagu-Chelmsford Report, and the endeavour to get legislative assemblies in the nine states, and the effort to get an arrangement whereby they should have a representative government in which seventy percent of the governing body should be native and the remainder British. From that experiment has, perhaps, arisen a certain amount of the friction of today, because the Indians themselves are finding that it is not quite as they had hoped. They are finding that, as before, they are not being entrusted with the financial features of the government, and consequently they have not the full control. Therein, probably, is the real difficulty in the political cause.
The processes at work in India are not only those that I have described, but other processes, of which Mr. Gandhi and his propaganda play a very important part. Mr. Gandhi is an educated gentleman, educated in England; a man of very high type. He is a recluse, and a pacifist, and they look upon him as Heaven-sent; therefore he is a dangerous type of agitator. During the past few months you have had a fine example of what he has been trying to do. He believes that through co-operation by the Indians themselves in passive resistance, by the process of boycott against Western ideas and ideals and against Western materials, and Western control, he is going to pull India out of its present situation and place it back in the situation in which it was 200 years ago. You remember how Mr. Joshi described that rather at length here a few weeks ago.
Now, the situation as it seems to be today, is not so bad as it would appear from reading some of our newspapers. There is a very definite propaganda on this continent against the British, and there are those who say that the things we are getting in our papers here are very much garbled, and do not give a true explanation of the situation. However that may be, the fact remains that a proof of the influence of Mr. Gandhi has been definitely exhibited during the last few weeks by the tour of the Prince of Wales in India. If you follow that, step by step, you will see that as each week succeeds each week, by the time the Prince of Wales got to Calcutta, which was considered to be the very hot bed of the Gandhi propaganda and agitation, practically the whole boycott, the whole idea of antagonism, had broken down at the command of the natives themselves. (Applause) Along with that comes this well-known fact that the Mohammedan and Hindoos are like oil and water, they will not mix; and so we come to see that it is quite likely that the Gandhi agitation will not succeed, that the Mohammedan and the Hindo coalition will not last. It remains for our people to follow consistently the process of government upon which they have embarked. I believe that by patience, by coolness, by good common sense, the British can control the destinies of India by keeping things on an even keel until the situation there will clear itself; and I think it is a sure expectation, which one hears on all sides, that India will not be lost to the Empire, but will stay in the hands of the British. If the British left India it would be the greatest disaster in the history of that people. (Applause)
Just a word about Africa. We have received a tremendous legacy in Africa as the result of the war. Before the war we had South Africa, Cape Colony to Rhodesia and East Africa, now known as Kenya. We have acquired German East Africa which is now called Tanganyika; and we shall acquire a portion of West Africa, also German, and we have various parts of the Interior such as Uganda, etc. Our problem there has been the problem of the original occupiers and of newcomers-in the South Coolies from India, Dutch farmers, English and natives; in the centre, the native and the British and the Arab traders. That, again, is a question of autonomy and the government of the country itself. It is not so far advanced as the other countries, and it has to be held in the hands of the British legislators for some years to come; but the prospects are that with money and with care those new countries will be gradually supplied with their requirements and a great deal of the discontent will end.
In that connection, I want to speak of a matter which has come to my own notice in Toronto. The Colonial Office is asking for Canadians of the right type to present themselves to go out to those newly acquired countries in Africa to take posts as administrators, as engineers, and as constructors of various kinds; and they have asked especially for University Graduates and Graduates in Applied Science and Engineering.
As to Australia, I think you have heard much about that country from various lectures before this Club. The great problem is that of a White Australia; they want to protect themselves against intrusion by the Yellow Races. That problem is much more acute with them than with us. They have had responsible government for many years. They have had .a labour government, and the world has been learning from the government of Australia how a labour government carries on. It is for us, looking at it from the outside, to decide how they are really getting on.
We have now gone half way around the world, and we are ready to come home to Canada; and after all, Gentlemen, it is really Canada, our own country, and its place in the Empire, of which I want to speak. It is the last link in this trip around the world; the last long, thin link from ocean to ocean. In speaking of that, I want to draw your attention to the new Coat of Arms for the Dominion of Canada which is about to be adopted, if it is not already so; and the motto on that Coat of Arms is "A Mari Usque Ad Mare" from Sea to Sea. (Applause) What finer idea of Empire, applied as it is to Canada-from Atlantic to Pacific-what finer idea of Empire could we have than that motto "From Sea to Sea"? I think, Gentlemen, that shows to us how necessary it is for us to continue our place in the Empire, to form that link from Sea to Sea; Canada, the great golden link-the great link, golden in Industry, golden in Opportunity, golden in Resources, and golden in Loyalty--to bind the Empire together through the Seven Seas. (Loud applause) For this Loyalty it is the high duty of this Empire Club and of the Canadian Clubs and the Rotary and other Clubs throughout the country to talk, to preach, to live and to act in all places and at all times. (Hear, hear)
Our Canadian problems are not the same as the others. We have gone through our period of questioning and the trial to our autonomy. We have gone through our various forms and our struggles for responsible government years ago. But the problem that we have before us today is how we are going to carry out that idea of autonomy up to a certain point and then apply it in that great intimate partnership in the Empire and the British League of Nations. That is the problem that we have before us-how we are going to take our place in that intimate League of Nations of the British Empire.
But we have other problems-problems which are a legacy of the war--with which we are now struggling; and in that struggle we have learned the extent of our imperial resources, and the extent and quality of our human resources, and of these we are proud. The problems today are mainly those of population, transportation, national finance and stabilization. The immediate problems before us are such as those of employment, tariff, and so on. All those problems we must face with courage-courage of the kind that only Canadians and Anglo-Saxons can appreciate; and if I may again refer to our friends of the Rotary Club I would like to draw to your attention a slogan with which they have placarded this city-many of you have seen it "You can have prosperity if you are willing to pay for it with Faith, Work and Co-operation." (Applause)
Now, at the beginning of another year-three years after the war--we must face these problems cheerfully. Cheerfulness and courage are the characteristics of the British and of the Anglo-Saxon race; and I would like to draw to your attention what the Prince of Wales said-our own Prince of Wales-at the meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in London last July
"At any rate there is one thing I feel, and that is that our duty at the present moment is that of cheerfulness I think all of us acknowledge that in spite of everything the men from the Old Country and those who came over from the Dominions, kept cheery during the war, and I am quite sure that went a long way to help us in winning through, and I feel exactly the same at the present moment.
Why should we not be cheerful? Why should we not be cheery today, the first month of this New Year? Think of all the things which, in the Empire and in Canada, we have to be thankful for. I am not trying to speak platitudes; I am trying to bring it down to the day and to the hour in the Empire. The Limitation of Arms Conference is progressing, and as I said before, we have every hope of peace and stabilization for years to come. The Irish Question appears all but finally and peacefully settled. Economic conditions improve daily in the Old Country and over the Empire generally. We are getting back in the Empire to our old commercial and shipping conditions. We are now on the way to stabilizing the economic conditions of Europe, as witness the coming Conference in the Riviera next month. Sterling Exchange in New York has decreased sixty cents since last January. That means a great deal in Empire Trade.
Now turn to Canada. Why should we not be cheerful? Everyone agrees, and we see it everywhere in the papers during the last few days and weeks, that financial conditions are more stable. Forced liquidation in trade and industry is about complete. The cost of living is approaching the normal, if you may consider it normal before or early in the War. Unemployment will largely decrease with the stabilization of trade. There is betterment in the labour situation. Agricultural products, although they have been at a low price, will undoubtedly force down the cost of production. Canadian exchange in New York is again close to normal. A year ago it was 18 per cent. Today it is only six per cent. The turmoil of the Dominion Elections is over and now everybody is getting busy to meet and attack the problems that we have before us. Why shouldn't we be cheerful?
But the great Empire problem for Canada is the general one of her place in the Empire. The links of Empire must change in their character. We have always thought of the links of Empire in terms of sentiment, to a certain degree, and during the last few years we have thought about the terms of Blood which were shed in the war; but now the British Empire has to be held together by something else, something more material. It must be held together by good common sense and by hard every-day business. Again I turn to what the Prince of Wales said on that same occasion before the London Chamber of Commerce. Later on in the same speech he said
"We need not ask any questions about British Enterprise and I think another thing we can be certain of is that we are a people of common sense. Common sense implies a frank and straight recognition of facts, a spirit of give and take and making the best of things, . . . . If I were called on for a toast I should give you "The British Empire and British Common Sense."
So said the Prince of Wales, and now, Gentlemen, I ask you what is Canada's best line of action? What is Canada's function? What is our duty to the Empire? I submit that it is first to determine what is best for the Empire, and with that, what is best for Canada, and how we can fit it into what is best for the Empire. That is the way to put it, and not the other way; and we should mould our policy of Canada to the policy of the Empire, for the good of Canada and for the good of the Empire. It is our duty to trade within the Empire, to help our co-partners in the scheme, and to take our place in the great British League of Nations. It is for us to maintain our British Empire ideals, our ideals and sentiments, and to resist any influences from within or without which tend to break down those ideals. That, I think, Gentlemen, is one of the most important functions which we as Canadians, which we as an Empire Club, have to fulfilto resist those influences, whether from the inside or the outside. It is our Empire; it is yours and mine; we have lived in it, we have fought for it; now let us live for it; let us work for it; keep it together, bind it tighter, and then be able to hand it down to our successors as a greater and better Empire than it has been before. I thank you, Gentlemen. (Loud applause)
DR. GOGGIN read the report of the nominating committee and moved that the list be accepted as the officers for the coming year.
On motion of Mr. Norman Sommerville, the President cast a ballot for the list as read, and they were declared elected.
DR. GOGGIN announced that the three members elected by the past presidents were Messrs. Coombs, Stapells and Fetherstonhaugh.
OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, 1922
President: Sir William Hearst, K.C.
First Vice-President: Mr. Ellis H. Wilkinson
Second Vice-President: Mr. S. R. Parsons
Third Vice-President: Mr. W. J. Darby
Secretary-Treasurer: Mr. D. J. Goggin
Mr. Harold BaldwinMr. J. B. Hanna
Mr. W. H. BanfieldMr. C. D. Henderson
Dr. Harold ClarkMr. Arthur Hewitt
Dr. J. Murray Clark, K.C.Lt.-Col. A. E. Kirkpatrick
Dr. P. E. DoolittleMr. A. O. Hogg
Mr. H. G. FoxMr. W. E. Lemon
Mr. W. Claude FoxMr. George H. Smith
Mr. A. E. GilversonMr. J. B. Sutherland
Mr. A. Monro Grier, K.C.Brig.-Gen. C. H. Mitchell
and the three members elected by the Past Presidents.
MR. ARTHUR HEWITT said it had been customary to pass a vote of thanks to the speaker of the day, and the custom should be followed in the case of President Mitchell's address which had been so interesting, so full of thoughts and information and history. He therefore moved a vote of thanks to the retiring President for his admirable address.
THE MOTION was put by the Secretary and carried amid applause.
GENERAL MITCHELL thanked the members of the Club for their vote, adding that he completed his term as President with great regret, but welcomed his successor, Sir William Hearst with great pleasure. He then introduced Sir William Hearst, the newly elected President who expressed his thanks for his election and outlined his plans for the coming year.