- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 19 Mar 1907, p. 276-305
- Leacock, Prof. Stephen B., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- An address before the Empire Club and Toronto Educationists.
First, words from the Dr. E. Clouse.
Canada, half Colonial and half Imperial. The question as to what will be the ultimate destiny of Canada. Thoughts that led to the formation of the Empire Club. The need to bring this matter more closely to the attention of the rising generation. The development of Imperial principles and the broadening and deepening of Imperial sentiment; ways in which this may be accomplished. The influence wielded by educationists. The practical use of post-graduate work. Deploring the fact that our youth often goes abroad to pursue their studies, often going to the United States or Germany. Finding ways to get these students to study in the institutions of the Old Land.
An introduction of the speaker by the President of the Empire Club, Mr. J.P. Murray.
Prof. Stephen B. Leacock:
Two subjects of address: the present position of the Empire and what one may call the Imperial movement, and about the part which those of us who are interested in education are called upon to play in that movement. The question of the coming Conference at London. Rumours as to the intentions of our Canadian Government with regard to this coming Imperial gathering. A reading of part of the speaker's pamphlet, "Greater Canada," urging that "We will be your colony no longer. Make us one with you in an Empire, Permanent and Indivisible." What such Imperialism would mean. The desire for a higher and more real Imperialism. What we should be teaching our children. The destiny of Canada. An expression of the speaker's political credo, his article of faith. The speaker's belief that there is need now for an Imperial movement in Canada. An enlarging on the thoughts presented and ways for educationists to advance them.
Commentary by Professor Alfred Baker, Mr. James L. Hughes, President Murray, Professor Leacock again, and Professor McGillivray of Glasgow who thanked the speaker.
- Date of Original
- 19 Mar 1907
- Language of Item
- Copyright Statement
- The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
- Empire Club of CanadaEmailinfo@empireclub.orgWWW address
Agency street/mail address
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
100 Front Street West, Floor H
Toronto, ON, M5J 1E3
- Full Text
- EDUCATION AND EMPIRE UNITY.
Address by Professor Stephen B. Leacock, of McGill University, Montreal, before the Empire Club and Toronto Educationists, on March 19th, 1907. Discussion by Dr. E. Clouse, President J. P. Murray, Professor Alfred Baker, Mr. James L. Hughes, and Professor McGillivray, of Glasgow.
Dr. E. Clouse. Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: When you asked me to say a few words along the lines of the work of the Empire Club that has led up to our present position and our present and contemplated relations, I was rather disinclined, hoping that the duty might fall to the lot of someone who would do the occasion and the subject greater justice. However, you, sir, and the members of the Executive Committee insisted, and in doing so you have placed me, in at least some respects, in the position of the bridegroom who, upon the occasion of the wedding supper, was unexpectedly called upon to respond to the toast to the bride. With many misgivings and full of the consciousness of his unpreparedness to speak, he arose and, as he did so, laid his hand unconsciously on the shoulder of his bride and exclaimed, "Ladies and Gentlemen, this thing has been forced upon me."
Mr. President, I will promise not to force very much upon you tonight for in common with all of you, I, too, am anxious for the time to come when we may
listen to the distinguished speaker who is here to-night. I think we may, however, in contemplating the subject, reasonably come to the conclusion that a people will not always remain half Colonial and half Imperial, and this fact, perhaps, has brought closely to the mind of many the question as to what will be the ultimate destiny of Canada. We think that nearly all Canadians are Imperialists, but it is another question to fully realize what we know and to organize so that we may develop and strengthen Imperial principles and Imperial sentiments. These thoughts some few years ago led to the formation of the Empire Club which has been working along such lines with an increasing measure of success from year to year.
During the past year it occurred to some of us that to lay the deepest foundation and to obtain the most permanent results it would be necessary to bring this matter more closely to the attention of the rising generation and, in order to do that, we felt there was no class of people in the country who could be so successful in aiding us as the educationists; and we felt that their training and their experience and the position they held, the relations they hold with the pupils, would enable them to do this most easily. We felt that a profession that has held such names as Arnold and Farrar and others, would in the future give names and individuals who would be a further inspiration along patriotic lines, and especially along the line of Imperialism. So we decided to ask the educationists of the City at first, and probably the educationists of the whole Dominion later on, to take a more active interest-we have no doubt they feel a deep interest along the lines to which I am referring-if possible, in giving a trend to the young minds in the direction in which we are trying to do something ourselves.
The development of Imperial principles and the broadening and deepening of Imperial sentiment may be accomplished in various ways; through trade relations and through political relations, from the standpoint of the statesman and the politician; but it may be perhaps most successfully effected through the educationists. For, after all, the educationists wield a greater influence upon the future destiny of a nation, probably, than do the statesmen and politicians of the day, for it is they who train the mind and give the trend to it which will reflect in future years these views, these principles, and give a basis to the work which is to be done by the statesmen and the politicians. With regard to education, I may say that one element which occurs to me as being most practical and of most use is that of postgraduate work. We often see the youth of our country going abroad to pursue their studies, and most frequently they go over to the neighbouring republic or to Germany.
This we think is to be deplored; we can scarcely expect that sentiment alone will guide them in these things, but in practical results we believe that it might be to their advantage if a current could set in that would carry more of them to the universities and educational institutions of the Old Land. We realize that the trend of educational affairs in our own country has been given largely by such men as Harris and Phillips and McCaul and Strachan and others who came from the universities of the Old Land and who brought with them British ideals and conception of things. Then, again, in the practical results outside of Imperialistic considerations, we think it would be an advantage to promote this line of development. True, the institutions of the United States, many of them, and especially the higher ones, are very excellent. In the elements of a materialistic character, probably, they are equal to almost any other country, but there is more to be considered than that. It is a sort of levelling process that occurs there; it gives a practical training, in some ways, that enables the student to develop into a successful money-getter, but it seems to lack in some other ways elements which we would like to see, and which we believe the systems in the Old Country possess. After all it is the moral element that is of the most importance, of more importance than the truly materialistic. We believe that in a training where the moral fibre and moral tone are sacrificed the best results are not obtained, no matter how successful the individual may be in a commercial way.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I will not take up time any further than to say that we hope that this meeting, which will probably be an historic one, if what we expect is attained--that it prove the beginning of closer relation; and more intimate and energetic effort upon the part o the educationists of the country and those who may be within the membership of the Empire Clubs, in the way of developing Imperial principles and sentiments--and may finally help in not only making us all Imperialists, but teaching us the reason why we are Imperialist; and rendering us satisfied with our choice and this result.
The President (Mr. J. P. Murray): Now, gentlemen, if the suggestion thrown out by Dr. Clouse is followed and you get anything like the experience that some of us have had in the Canadian Manufacturers Association, you will undoubtedly find that the best parts of your lives are yet to come, from the enjoyment you will derive from mutual association. In the early history of the Manufacturers organization one manufacturer, who might live across the road from another one, would not even recognize him on the street. By and by they came together and they found they were not such bad fellows after all, and now-why, you cannot get a thin sheet of tissue paper in between them they are so thick. The result is that the industries of the country are developing in strides that would not have been thought possible ten years ago. As education is the most important thing that we have to take into consideration, because we cannot have business men unless we have them educated, I should certainly commend Dr. Clouse's suggestion for the educationists to get together just as often as they can, and we will then be only too glad on all occasions to have them meet with the Empire Club. Now, gentlemen, it is my privilege to introduce to you tonight Professor peacock, of McGill University. He is well known in Toronto, and those of you who know him, know him as a man of good sense. He married a Toronto girl. And to show you that he is a bit of a diplomat and did not want to hurt Hamilton's feelings, I may say he married a girl called Hamilton! Without any further introduction I present Professor peacock,PROFESSOR STEPHEN B. LEACOCK.
Mr. President, members and guests of the Empire Club: I am to speak tonight on the subject of "Empire and Education." I wish to talk about two things: about the present position of the Empire and what one may call the Imperial movement, and about the part which, those of us who are interested in education are called upon to play in that movement. When I received the very courteous invitation of your Club to address you, I set to work preparing the speech that I should give. I do not deal in impromptu speeches, and have but little belief in the impassioned orator who relies upon the stimulus of the moment; but I soon found that it would be better and wiser, and that, perhaps, I could more truly express my thought, if I were to write down what I meant, and what I meant to convey to you, upon the first part of this most important subject. If, then, you will pardon my reading a part of my remarks, I will read to you what I have to say about the present position of the Empire in the form of a pamphlet which I have before me and the incentive to write which was given by the meeting of this Club. This I hope shortly to publish, and I intend to send it East and West as far as the Imperial post can carry it and, perhaps, in some humble way and to a humble extent, it may serve to influence opinion in the Empire.
In it I deal especially with the question of the coming Conference at London. I need hardly remind you that that Conference is the fourth of gatherings that have been held in London with the purpose of discussing the general relations of the different parts of the Empire, and it has been the hope of many persons that out of those Conferences there might be developed something that should constitute a new and a growing Imperial authority, and there are those among us, therefore, who would not wish to see any step taken backwards, who would not wish to see anything that might tend to weaken the progressive growth of the Imperial Conferences. We, therefore, hear with alarm certain rumours that are now abroad among us, and to which I need not refer specifically, as to what the intentions of our Canadian Government are in regard to this coming Imperial gathering. May I, then, as the first part of what I have to say, as the somewhat over-balanced text to a very short sermon that I propose to deliver after it, read a part of my "Greater Canada" to you?
Now, in this month of April, when the ice is leaving our rivers, the ministers of Canada take ship for this the fourth Colonial Conference at London. What do they go to do? Nay, rather what shall we bid them do? We--the six million people of Canada, unvoiced, untaxed, in the Empire, unheeded in the councils of the world--we, the six million colonials sprawling our oversuckled infancy across a continent--what shall be our message to the motherland? Shall we still whine of our poverty, still draw imaginary pictures of our thin herds shivering in the cold blasts of the North, their shepherds huddled for shelter in the log cabins of Montreal and Toronto? Shall we still beg the good people of England to bear yet a little longer, for the poor peasants of their colony, the burden and heat of the day? Shall our ministers rehearse this worn out fiction of our "acres of snow," and so sail home again, still untaxed, to the smug approval of the oblique politicians of Ottawa? Or, shall we say to the people of England: "The time has come; we know and realize our country. We will be your colony no longer. Make us one with you in an Empire, Permanent and Indivisible."
This last alternative means what is commonly called Imperialism. It means a united system of defence, an Imperial navy for whose support somehow or other the whole Empire shall properly contribute, and with it an Imperial authority in whose power we all may share. To many people in Canada this Imperialism is a tainted word. It is too much associated with a truckling , subservience to English people and English ideas and the silly swagger of the hop-o'-my-thumb junior officer. But there is and must be for the true future of our country, a higher and more real Imperialism than this -the Imperialism of the plain man at the plough and the clerk in the counting house, the Imperialism of any decent citizen that demands for this country its proper place in the councils of the Empire and in the destiny of the world. In this sense, Imperialism means but the realization of a Greater Canada, the recognition of a wider citizenship.
I, that write these lines am an Imperialist because I will not be a Colonial. This Colonial status is a wornout, by-gone thing. The sense and feeling of it has become harmful to us. It limits the ideas and circumscribes the patriotism of our people. It impairs the mental vigour and narrows the outlook of those that are reared and educated in our midst. The English boy reads of England's history and its glories as his own; it is his navy that fought at Camperdown and Trafalgar; his people that have held fast their twenty miles of sea eight hundred years against a continent. He learns at his fireside and at his school, among his elders and his contemporaries, to regard all this as part of himself; something that he, as a fighting man, may one day uphold, something for which as a plain citizen he shall every day gladly pay, something for which in any capacity it may be one day his high privilege to die. How little of this in Canada! Our paltry policy teaches the Canadian boy to detach himself from the England of the past, to forget that Camperdown and Copenhagen and the Nile are ours as much as theirs, that this navy of the Empire is ours, too; ours in its history of the past, ours in its safeguard of the present.
If this be our policy and our plan, let us complete our teaching to our children. Let us inscribe it upon the walls of our schools, let us write it in brass upon our temples, that for the navy which made us and which defends us, we pay not a single penny, we spare not a single man. Let us add to it, also, that the lesson may bear fruit, this " shelter theory " of Canada, now rampant in our day; that Canada by some reason of its remoteness from European sin and its proximity to American republicanism, is sheltered from that flail of war with which God tribulates the other peoples of the world, Sheltered by the Monroe Doctrine, and by President Roosevelt and his battleships; sheltered, I know not how, but sheltered somehow so that we may forget the lean, eager patriotism and sacrifice of a people bred for war, and ply in peace the little craft of gain and greed. So grows and has grown the Canadian boy in his colonial status, dissociated from the history of the world, cut off from the larger patriotism, colourless in his ideas. So grows he till in some sly way his mind opens to the fencerail politics of his countryside, with its bribed elections and its crooked vote--snot patriotism this, but "politics," maple-leaf politics, by which money may be made and places and profit fall in a golden shower.
Some time ago Theodore Roosevelt, writing with the pardonable irresponsibility of a Police Commissioner of New York, and not as President of the United States, said of us here in Canada, that the American feels towards the Canadian the good-natured condescension that is felt by the free-born man for the man that is not free. Only recently one of the most widely circulated of American magazines, talking in the same vein, spoke of us Canadians as a "subject people." These are, of course, the statements of extravagance and ignorance; but it is true, none the less, that the time has come to be done with this colonial business, done with it once and forever. We cannot in Canada continue as we are. We must become something greater or something infinitely less. We can no longer be an appanage and outlying portion of something else. Canada, as a colony, was right enough in the good old days of Governor Simcoe, when your emigrant officer sat among the pine stumps of his Canadian clearing and reared his children in the fear of God and in the love of England--right enough then, wrong enough and destructive enough now. We cannot continue as we are. In the history of every nation, as of every man, there is no such thing as standing still. There is no pause upon the path of progress. There is no stagnation but the hush of death.
And for this progress, this forward movement, what is there first to do? How first unravel this vexed skein of our colonial and imperial relations? This, first of all. We must realize, and the people of England must realize, the inevitable greatness of Canada. This is not a vainglorious boast. This is not rhodomontade. It is simple fact. Here stand we, six million people, heirs to the greatest legacy in the history of mankind, owners of half a continent, trustees, under God Almighty, for the fertile soltitudes of the West. A little people, few in numbers, say you? Ah, truly such a little people! Few as the people of the Greeks that blocked the mountain gates of Europe to the march of Asia, few as the men of Rome that built a power to dominate the world, nay, scarce more numerous than they in England whose beacons flamed along the cliffs a warning to the heavy galleons of Spain. Aye, such a little people, but growing, growing, growing, with a march that shall make us ten millions tomorrow, twenty millions in our children's time and a hundred millions yet ere the century runs out. What say you to Fort Garry, a stockaded fort in your father's day, with its hundred thousand of today and its half a million souls of the tomorrow? What think you, little River Thames, of our great Ottawa that flings its foam eight hundred miles? What does it mean when science has moved us a little further yet, and the wheel of the world's work turns with electric force? What sort of asset do you think then our melting snow and the roaring river-flood of our Canadian spring shall be to us? What say you, little puffing steam-fed industry of England, to the industry of coming Canada? Think you, you call heave your coal hard enough, sweating and grunting with your shovel to keep pace with the snowfed cataracts of the north? Or look, were it but for double conviction, at the sheer extent and size of us. Throw aside, if you will, the vast districts of the frozen north; confiscate, if you like, Ungava, still snow-covered and unknown, and let us talk of the Canada that we know, south of the sixteenth parallel, south of your Shetland Islands, south of the Russian Petersburg and reaching southward thence to where the peach groves of Niagara bloom in the latitude of Northern Spain. And of all this take only our two new provinces, twin giants of the future, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Three decades ago this was the great lone land, the frozen west, with its herds of bison and its Indian tepees, known to you only in the pictured desolation of its unending snow; now crossed and intercrossed with railways, settled 400 miles from the American frontier, and sending north and south the packets of its daily papers from its two provincial capitals. And of this country, fertile as the corn plains of Hungary, and the crowded flats of Belgium, do you know the size? It is this. Put together the whole German Empire, the republic of France and your England and Scotland, and you shall find place for them in our two new provinces. Or take together across the boundary from us, the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut-all the New England States-and with them all the Middle States of the North-New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin-till you have marked a space upon the map from the Atlantic to the Mississippi and from the Ohio to the Lakes-all these you shall put into our two new provinces and still find place for England and for Scotland in their boundaries.
This, then, for the size and richness of our country. Would that the soul and spirit of its people were commensurate with its greatness. For here as yet we fail. Our politics, our public life and thought, rise not to the level of our opportunity. The mud-bespattered politicians of the trade, the party men and party managers, give us in place of patriotic statecraft the sordid traffic of a tolerated jobbery. For bread, a stone. Harsh is the cackle of the little turkeycocks of Ottawa, fighting the while as they feather their mean nest of sticks and mud, high on their river bluff. Loud sings the little Man of the Province, crying his petty Gospel of Provincial Rights, grudging the gift of power, till the cry spreads and town hates town and every hamlet of the countryside shouts for its share of plunder and of pelf. This is the tenor of our politics, carrying as its undertone the voice of the black-robed sectary, with narrow face and shifting eyes, snarling still with the bigotry of a by-gone day. This is the spirit that we must purge. This is the demon we must exorcise; this the disease, the cankerworm of corruption, bred in the indolent security of peace, that must be burned from us in the pure fire of an Imperial patriotism that is no theory but a passion. This is our need, our supreme need of the Empire--not for its ships and guns, but for the greatness of it, aye, for the very danger of it.
Of our spirit, then, it is not well. Nor is it well with the spirit of those in England in their thoughts of us. Jangling are they these twenty years over little Ireland that makes and unmakes ministries, and never a thought for Canada; jangling now over their Pantaloon Suffragettes and their Swaddled Bishops, wondering whether they shall still represent their self-willed Lords nose for nose in the councils of the Empire, or whether they may venture now to scale them down, putting one nose for ten. One or ten, what does it matter, so there is never a voice to speak for Canada? Can they not see, these people of England, that the Supreme English Question now is the question of Canada? That this Conference of the year of grace, 1907, might, if it would, make for us the future of the Empire? Or will they still regard us, poor, outlying, sheltered people of Canada, as something alien and apart, sending us ever of their youngest and silliest to prate in easy arrogance of "home," earning the livelihood their Island cannot give, still snapping at the hand that feeds them?
And what, then, can this Colonial Conference effect, after all, it is asked? Granting, for argument's sake, the spirit of the people that might move it, our unwillingness to pay, their willingness to give us place and power, what can be done? Hard, indeed, is the question. Hard even to the Ready Man in the Street with his glib solution of difficulties; harder still to the thoughtful; hardest of all to those who will not think. For if we pay for this our navy, that even now defends us, and yet speak not in the councils at Westminster, then that is Taxation without Representation; straightway the soul of the Anglo-Saxon stands aghast; the grim death-head of King John grins in the grave, while the stout ghost of old Ben Franklin hovers again upon our frontier holding in its hand the proffer of independence. But if you admit us to your councils, what then? Ah, then indeed an awful thing befalls! Nothing less than the remaking of your constitution, with a patching and a re-building of it, till the nature-growth of precedent and custom is shaped in the clumsy artifice of clause and schedule, powers and prohibitions, measured and marked off with the yard-stick of the ultra-vices attorney. This surely is worse than ever. This, perhaps, you might have done, save for the bare turn of a majority, for Irksome Ireland. But for uncomplaining Canada, not so.
So there we stand, we and you, pitched fast upon the horns of a dilemma. You cannot tax us, since you will not represent us. We cannot be represented because we will not be taxed. So stand we stock-still, like the donkey in the philosophic fable, balanced between two bales of hay, nibbling neither right nor left. So are we like to stand, till some of us, some of you and us, shall smite the poor donkey of our joint stupidity there where it most profits that a donkey shall be smitten, and bid it move!
Yet is the difficulty perhaps not impossible of solution. The thing to be achieved is there. The task is yours to solve, men of the council table. Find us a way whereby the burden and the power shall fall on all alike; a way whereby, taxed, we shall still be free men; free of the Imperial citizenship, and your historic constitution unshattered in the process. Is it, then, so difficult? We come of a race that has solved much, has so often achieved the impossible. Look back a little in the ages to where ragged Democracy howls around the throne of defiant Kingship. This is a problem that we have solved, joining the dignity of Kingship with the power of Democracy; this, too, by the simplest of political necromancy, the trick of which we now expound in our schools, as the very alphabet of political wisdom. Or look back to where the scaffolds of a bigot nation run with blood for the sake of rival creeds that know not vet the simple code of toleration, to be framed now in an easy statute with an artful stroke of a pen. Have we done all this and shall we balk at this poor colonial question? At it, then, like men, shrewd representatives of Ottawa and of Westminster, trained in the wisdom of the ages. Listen not to those who would block the way with a non possumus on this side, a non volumus on that. Find us a way, show us a plan, a mere beginning if you will, a widow's mite of contribution, a mere whispering of representation, but something that shall trace for us the future path of Empire.
Nor is guidance altogether lacking in the task. For at least the signs of the times are written large as to what the destiny of Canada shall not be. Not as it is--not on this colonial footing--can it indefinitely last. There are those who tell us that it is best to leave well enough alone, to wait for the slow growth, the evolution of things. For herein lies the darling thought of the wisdom of the nineteenth century, in the same evolution, this ready-made explanation of all things; hauled over the researches of the botanist to meet the lack of thought of the philosopher. Whatever is, is; whatever will be, will be-so runs its silly creed. Therefore let everything be, that is; and all that shall be, shall be. This is but the wisdom of the fool wise after the fact. For the solution of our vexed colonial problem this profits nothing. We cannot sit passive to watch our growth. Good or bad, straight or crooked, we must make our fate.
Nor is it even possible or desirable that we in Canada can form an independent country. The little cry that here and there goes up among us is but the symptom of an aspiring discontent, that will not let our people longer be colonials. 'Tis but a cry forced out by what a wise man has called the growing pains of a nation's progress. Independent, we could not survive a decade. Those of us who know our country realize that beneath its surface smoulder still the embers of racial feud and of religious bitterness. Twice in our generation has the sudden alarm of conflict broken upon the quiet of our prosperity with the sound of a fire-bell in the night. Not thus our path. Let us compose the feud and still the strife of races, not in the artificial partnership of Independent Canada, but in the joint greatness of a common destiny.
Nor does our future lie in Union with those that dwell to the Southward. The day of annexation to the United States is past. Our future lies elsewhere. Be it said without concealment and without bitterness. They have chosen their lot; we have chosen ours. Let us go our separate ways in peace. Let them still keep their perennial Independence Day, with its fulminating fireworks and its Yankee Doodle. We keep our Magna Charta and our rough-and-ready Rule Britannia, shouting as lustily as they! The propaganda of Annexation is dead. Citizens we want, indeed, but not the prophets of an alien gospel. To you who come across our western border we can offer a land fatter than your Kansas, a government better than Montana, a climate kinder than your Dakota. Take it, Good Sir, if you will; but if, in taking it, you still raise your little croak of annexation, then up with you by the belt and out with you, breeches first, through the air, to the land of your origin! This in all friendliness.
Not Independence, then, not Annexation, not Stagnation; nor yet that doctrine of a little Canada that some conceive--half in, half out of the Empire, with a mimic navy of its own; a pretty navy this-poor two-penny collection, frolicking on its little way strictly within the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a sort of silly adjunct to the navy of the Empire, semi-detached, the better to be smashed at will. As well a Navy of the Province, or the Parish, home-made for use at home, docked every Saturday in Lake Nipigon! Yet this you say, you of the Provincial Rights, you Little Canada Man, is all we can afford! we that have raised our public charge from forty up to eighty millions odd, within the ten years past, and scarce have felt the added strain of it. Nay, on the question of the cost, good gentlemen of the council, spare it not; measure not the price. It is not a commercial benefit we buy. We are buying back our honour as Imperial citizens. For, look you, this protection of our lives and coast, this safeguard from the scourge of war, we have it now as much as you of England; you from the hardearned money that you pay, we as the peasant pensioners of your Imperial bounty. Thus stands the case. Thus stands the question of the future of Canada. Find for us something other than mere colonial stagnation, something sounder than independence, nobler than annexation, greater in purpose than a Little Canada. Build us a plan, that shall make us, in hope at least, an Empire Permanent and Indivisible.
That, gentlemen, is my political credo; there stands my article of faith. I do not care about the details of it, but I hope that that may be, sooner or later--I mean the sentimentality that inspires it--the fundamental article of faith of every man within the Dominion. What I wish to do now is to enlarge somewhat the thoughts I have presented to you and state in what way those of us concerned in education may best advance them; for I am one of those who believe that there is need now for an Imperial movement in this country. I believe the little Shibboleths of our political parties have worn themselves out and we must get behind them a new and stronger motive power, something that shall lift us out to a higher standing and higher inspiration in politics than we enjoy at present. If there is anything to be done at this Colonial Conference, we, the people of Canada, must get behind and shove, and of all people who should most advance the cause of Imperial Union, in whatever way we may complete it, I think those of us who are interested in education ought to be the most concerned. It is not usual to regard us, gentlemen, as leaders in political thought and leaders in political movement; we are generally regarded as a somewhat harmless and irresponsible class. Indeed we enjoy a sort of special license on account of our irresponsibility. I have found myself at gatherings similar to this prompted to say things which otherwise might have sounded recklessly irresponsible, merely on the ground that as a University Professor, I could not hope to understand what I was talking about. (Laughter.)
Now, gentlemen, I am willing to admit for the humble class to which I belong that we know nothing of business. Our salaries prove it. But what I claim is, that this question of the Empire is not mere business, it is one of those things into which the tertium quid of idealism and unmeasurable sentiment must and will intrude itself, and here we, of education, have a right to say to the business world: "This is our question as much as yours." There has been too great a tendency in this community and the one to the South of us to establish the false analogy between business and politics and to consider that those who are not in active business have a right to abstain from everything in the light of political faith and political advancement. I think, gentlemen, this has been, and continues to be, a great national mistake, for when you think of it, as Dr. Clouse has said to us, we, the educational people, are perhaps those whose influence is, or at any rate might be, greatest in the country. It has been said that the hand that rocked the cradle rules the world. I think we might revise that and make it read: "The hand that rules the blackboard rocks the world," for it is our privilege to deal with the youth of the country; to inspire in them those ideas which afterwardswill bear fruit; to implant in them the morality of the school which shall some day become the morality of those in public places. It has been the great fault of our American communities, both here and in the United States, that we have never yet attained a sufficiently high standard of public morality. Each arid every one of us has to but search his conscience to acknowledge the taunt that we look with somewhat lenient and indulgent eye on the extravagant use of public money or the minor jobbery which we think is a necessary part of politics; and I think there is no place where this corruption might better be attacked at its source than in the lives of our schools, and in creating in those whom we touch a high standard of private and school morality that shall presently become the basis of their public morals.
It is a commonplace remark to draw attention to the relatively higher standard prevalent in England. I think, gentlemen, that may be very largely attributed to the training that is given in the English Public School; and to the code of honour, sometimes an artificial and over-drastic code, it seems to me. We see the honour that is instilled into the English boy from his very youth up. If there is to be, then, a successful Imperial movement in Canada, it is we, the teachers of the country, who ought to take our stand. For this reason a successful Imperialism must not be a creed of blood and conquest. Imperialism must not be militarism, need not be indeed, if it be Imperialism. It ought to aspire to national safety, national honour, and the preservation of our historic national ideas, but it should carry behind it a united sentiment and united force that would prove the best and finest guarantee of peace. The relative peace England has enjoyed throughout the nineteenth century has rested mainly, as everybody knows, on the predominance of its great navy, and as you look back over those hundred years you realize the expenditure made on the British Navy was an expenditure not in the interests of war, but an expenditure in the interests of peace and civilization. If then, gentlemen, in our educational machinery we are to pursue this national ideal, how best may we set about it? How shall our system be moulded to the developments we look for in it, if it is to form really part of a national and imperial life?
The question of our universities, for instance, in regard to them I would say this, that we must face the fact that in the modern world a university is not a cloister, that a university must be prepared to be an acting part of the driving machinery of civilization. I do not mean here to advance those cheap and easy ideas which would make a university a mere part of politics, something in which places are distributed according to the favour of a party, and which acts as a sort of blast furnace for heating up the hot air of the platform oratory; nor do I mean in any way to decry the older ideals of university culture and university education upon which so many of us have been bred. Personally, I consider the sterner studies of the classics and the hard discipline of mathematics should be the ineradicable basis of education; but when a university should take its place in the national life, it should recognize that it is an institution whose doors should not be shut to the outside world, and whose class-rooms, programmes, and public lectures all must form a living and moving part of a national system. At the universities the public men of our country ought to find an audience ever ready to listen to them, an audience before which they may cast aside the artificial cloak of their party adhesion, and appear as men of brains talking to men of brains, and avoid the poor paltry pretences of agreement that make up party government. And, more necessary than all is it that between our two great universities there ought to be no jealousy; we ought to be co-operating parts of one national Canadian system of education, and we ought, as far as possible to give and take towards one another, be less ready to suspect one another's motives than we are and more eager to move together in co-operation than we have been in the past.
I am not afraid, on account of the irresponsibility that I say I enjoy, to say rough things, and speaking in Ontario I would say that the besetting sin of this Province is the assertion of Provincial rights to which I have referred. We are aware, those of us who live in the other parts of Canada, that you are the largest Province, I mean the largest in population and power, and that you have, perhaps, the greatest natural advantages, and we are quite aware that in many ways the other parts of Canada cannot compete with you; but we sometimes feel that this Province of Ontario-I am not thinking only of education, but in all respects-obtrudes somewhat too briskly and cruelly against the other Provinces its superior advantages; pushing westward against little Manitoba that would like to extend its boundaries, and sometimes pushing eastward against poor old French Canada to which at present I belong. It is shared in other Provinces and on the racial side shared, too, by Quebec, but it is a fault that must be driven out of our education. We ought to feel in our great universities that we belong in a higher sense to only one university, to a system of Canadian education in which we all are participating; and if the task of the university is great in this Imperialism so is the task of the school greater, for at the school every citizen in his youth attends, every citizen is for several years of his life profoundly under the influence of the ideas and the discipline of his school.
All over the world the controversy is going on as to how far we may rightly introduce into our schools a programme of definite religious education. The same question is being fought out in various parts of Canada, in the French Republic, and in England; and we have here a doubtful point. Many of us are inclined to think that that side of education is not the proper province of the school; others, taking the contrary view, would look upon that as the very basis of education itself; but there is a point upon which we all might agree, if we would only Confess it to ourselves, and that is that the school ought to be the training ground of citizenship--that the programme of the school, its teaching of history, its teaching of geography, and the days which it celebrates, and the routine and life of the school should be levelled towards recognition of the fact that the school is the training ground of the future men and citizens of the nation. There is, gentlemen, beyond the school and the university the higher school of the world into which we subsequently enter. There each of us are pupils; there from day to day each of us must learn his little task; there each of us from day to day must take his chastisement, and there sooner or later the record marks of each one of us shall be added up to the final total. We have to think, then, of the influence that can be brought to bear in the general world about us by the propagation of this Imperial ideal, for there is nothing more important than that we should have at the basis of our young life some settled agreement as to our national aspirations and ideals.
There is too largely a tendency now to throw all that aside, and consider that government is the problem that we have solved, that we have got our ready-made Democracy with its machinery and its votes and its ballot box, and, therefore, we can let it operate in peace and stand aside from it. It is a common remark of perhaps many of us to say: "I take no interest in politics." But I tell you that the man or the citizen who says that condemns out of his own mouth either himself or his politics. For there is something wrong in the country if the individual, intelligent citizens of it say that they take no interest in politics. Democracy cannot work of itself. It is almost pathetic to look back at the high hopes with which its beginning was ushered in and to see now how very largely they have been disappointed and shattered. In the time of our grandfathers some of the most sanguine and idealistic people in the world thought that nothing was needed but a ready-made legislature and its ballot box and its popular government, and straightway the fate of man would be permanently ameliorated. It seemed that the millennium could be ushered in upon the tail of a paper constitution. Gentlemen, we have had about one hundred years of democratic government on this side of the water and the other and we have come to realize that democratic government, after all, is but a form of government, and that it is useless and idle unless it can have behind it the high spirit and the untiring vigilance that shall watch over its application.
We, then, in this country, and in every other country, know that good government and untiring vigilance are necessary, and at the basis we need a national conception, a feeling of what we are, such as other great countries have; what we mean to be, what we recognize ourselves to be. Let us settle with ourselves in Canada as to what our country is going to be, let us find what are the future aspirations we can teach to those who come after us. For that reason, I think, this Conference of 1907 is of such absolute and supreme importance. I realize that those Ministers who are going from Canada may sway the current of our destiny either one way or the other. We all know that on account of our predominant position among the Colonies of the Empire, and on account of the historic self-effacement the English have adopted, it is Canada that can, if it likes, play the trump card in the game before it. As Canada votes, so will the others vote. If we vote for something like organic union, the others will only too gladly follow our lead. Therefore I think this and other bodies in Canada ought to unite in an effort to force the Canadian people into a recognition of the supreme importance of the situation and put it before our Ministers, that they must somehow find a way to make us one, an Empire Permanent and Indivisible.
Professor Alfred Baker: When told just before coming into the room that I was to have the privilege of either moving or seconding a vote of thanks, I confess to having thought that I would be able to make up my mind as to what I should say during the continuance of Professor Leacock's address. When I say that I had no opportunity, you will know what I mean. It is seldom that I, and I take the liberty of saying that it is seldom that you, have had the privilege of listening after dinner to so fine a piece of literature as that which we have had from Professor Leacock. With its incisive thought, and its epigrammatic expression, it is a matter of very great delight to me and to you to know that it is to be published in pamphlet form, and that we will be able, possibly, to commit some of those phrases to memory and, perhaps, before an audience that has not heard them before we shall be able to get them off as our own! I was very much pleased to find that at points Professor Leacock's views were in accord with our own. We are always disposed to worship the rising sun. With reference to the function that a university should play in moulding national sentiment, for example, I have always had the view, and have never hesitated to declare it in public, that a great university should be a great propaganda of national feeling and national sentiment, and to me that means a propaganda of Imperial sentiment. Professor Leacock referred to that. He referred, too, to the disappointment that we have in purely democratic institutions. It is Pope who says
"For forms of government let fools contest;
That which is best administered is best."
I think that we have come to think that after all government depends largely upon the honesty and zeal and far-sightedness of those who are administering it, and at the present time I do not think that we are clearly of the opinion that the United States, which at one time was regarded as a pure democracy, is the best administered country in the world. I do not think that Canada, which is an ideal democracy also, is the best administered country in the world, nor do I think that many of you do. In one other matter I may say I found myself in accord with Professor Leacock. He said that Imperialism should not represent militarism. I think that if our Imperialism is to succeed it must be of such a character as to commend itself to men beyond the pale of the Empire, that is to say, to the world at large. Now, with that view I think that it should stand for toleration, toleration of creed, of language, and of race; and I think that, secondly, it should represent to the world an assemblage of nations which should be the prototype or the precursor of that union of nations which is to form a sort of universal brotherhood. Now, it is only by keeping before us great principles like these and trying to live up to them, and not by representing our Imperialism as something which is to down the other nations, but something for which all humanity can shout; it is by proclaiming and preaching and talking an Imperialism such as that, that we are likely to make our mission successful.
I think that with reference to that first matter, toleration, it is a matter of congratulation to us that the people at the core of the Empire, the English people, are people of singular toleration. It springs probably from their love for fair play. I myself have no convictions as to the gain of complete homogeneity. Did you ever think that if complete homogeneity existed in the physical universe it would mean the cessation of all motion and the cessation of all life? Nature, in developing her methods of evolution, is protesting against and is struggling against homogeneity. Now, it is a fortunate thing for us that we have our French-Canadian fellow-citizens, and that we have to live with them, we have to administer with them, we have to understand them. It is a lucky thing for them that we are Protestants and Roman Catholics living side by side; that we may have an opportunity of seeing the good qualities in each. It is a lucky thing for the people in South Africa that they have Boers and Britons, that they have, in union with one another, to work out the salvation of that vast country. It is a lucky thing in India, which I think I may safely claim is the best administered country in Asia--and you say that is not saying much; but it is a difficult thing to administer a country in Asia-it is a fortunate thing that the Hindoo has an opportunity of seeing the British administer his affairs, and living under the aegis of the Pax Britannica; and I hope, on the other hand, the British there and the British elsewhere will come to see that gradually the governed must take part in the government.
With reference also to that other notion to which I referred, that is, that we should preach the Empire as a union of nations which is to be the precursor or the prototype of that eventual union of nations in which all will form a sort of universal brotherhood, I may say that the idea of Patria, the idea of Nation, is a notion of gradual growth, but it has developed and it is developing now. We are just, I think, on the verge of a fresh view in reference to it, and I think it is this. Go back and take the family, the tribe, the petty principality, the little kingdom; it develops into the Heptarchy, and each Englishman begins to see, slowly, of course, but yet gradually-perhaps it takes centuries-he begins to see that every other Englishman is his fellow-countryman. Then the idea travels, and takes in the British Isles, and the idea takes wings and crosses the ocean and goes to the most remote part of the earth, and we in Canada feel that our compatriots are not merely these people in Ontario, but our fellow-citizens in Quebec, we feel that we are the fellow-countrymen of the Boers of Africa and the Australians and the New Zealanders, and the Hindoos also, and it is part of the development of that idea, and the one that I previously referred to, that we stand upon an Imperialism that we can safely commend and defend, and that will commend itself to the rest of the world. I have very great pleasure in moving that the thanks of this meeting be tendered to Professor Leacock for his extremely interesting and scholarly and telling address.
Mr. James L. Hughes: Surely no man ever had a lighter task than I. The address commended itself so fully to you that it does not need any endorsation from me or any argument to prove that we ought to thank Professor Leacock. I assure him that when it is published we shall see that in every school in Toronto there is a copy of it, that it may be read by our teachers who may give to our pupils the great suggestions he has given. Only two things I thought in the whole splendid address did not commend themselves to me. I am not going to go behind those gentlemen at Ottawa; he said we would have to get behind them and push. I think our place is in front of them; we ought to get ahead of them and guide them and lead them in the right direction. (Applause.) That is really what this meeting was organized for to-night, that we should find out by coming together, teachers and business men, men from other provinces and men of this province, Roman Catholics and Protestants, that we should come together and find out just exactly what we, as the educational men of this country, should teach the young people, and when we have decided that, the politicians will have to get behind us and hustle if they are going to keep up with us. That is the theory. Roosevelt said when he was parting from those splendid fellows who fought with him down in Cuba, and they had praised him for his great bravery in leading them up the hill to fight: "I didn't deserve any credit for that, I had to run like to keep out of your way" Part of that language you may not understand, but- it meant they were coming so fast he had to rush to get up the hill before them. We must make it so for the politicians, that is what we are here for.
I don't believe, either, that the action of our Canadian representatives this year, even if they don't live up to what we believe they ought to, will stem the tide or that if they give an adverse decision, they are going to make it a final decision. No, there are coming centuries and there are coming men, and women, too, and we are not going to believe that any body of people today shall be able to prevent the unity of this great nation. We believe, those of us who have thought of it a little while, that Professor Baker's final thought is the true one, that the Anglo-Saxon race represents the highest ideal of moral power that we are conscious of or capable of understanding now-the great ideal of unity. As the nation came together, as he says, from the little parts and then the Heptarchy and they came into the one England, and then the other parts of the Empire, and then we had our own Dominion in the same way, scattered provinces brought together by Confederation, and the same movement in Australia, it is simply a coming together of the people, a unity because the revelation of the Divine is coming more nearly to us. And so in the churches I remember the time when the Presbyterian ministers, different bodies of them, would scarcely speak as they met on the street; and so with the Methodists; I remember distinctly when they wouldn't preach in one another's churches in this country of ours. The Presbyterians came together, and had their meeting in this great city. We remember, all of us, when the Methodist body came together and unified. That is the great central element of our time, the great evolutionary thought of our time, and believing that, and representing the great ideal, as the Anglo-Saxon race does, the British Empire will be the next great unity. I believe it will go beyond that of the Anglo-Saxon unity to the unity of the race. Most of us won't live to see that; I am going to try to if I can. However, we believe it is coming, and so laying down that great fundamental principle, with faith in God, and faith in our power, and faith in the human race, and the development of the race, we as teachers ought to feel that we have a glorious privilege in giving out this great fundamental principle to the young people, and that is what President Murray and Dr. Clouse and others of the Empire Club meant by bringing you here tonight who represent the teaching profession.
I hope from this meeting will go forth the clear ideal that we are to come together in the future, that we teachers are not to keep by ourselves, as we have done so much in the past, and that the business men of the city are not to keep by themselves, and the working people by themselves, but that we should get a great unity of all the classes; and I am sure it will do us good as teachers to meet men of the type of the President. This meeting is needed in Toronto. For 30 odd years we have been trying to develop this sentiment in Toronto schools with all the energy that we can. We make a flag out of the constituent crosses every year, and I wish that we had something more distinctively Canadian to add to that; we will have it probably by and by. We make our flag, we speak of our King, and our flag and our nation, and we even speak of our Navy, although we have no right to do it, as we shall some day have. Nothing pleased me better than that magnificent contempt which the speaker had for the mere financial side of the question. For whatever is great and true, God will always provide the money. We will provide it. There is no question about that, and we are not always going to live in the pauper condition of dependence in which we are now. A gentleman from Birmingham, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain's own constituency, visited our schools this week, and he boasted to me that he got on the platform, that the teachers of old England, some of them, get on the platform and that a good many are getting into politics. Macnamara, a Canadian boy, is second in command of the Education Department; a Bristol teacher he was, and this man said he got on the platform and opposed Joseph Chamberlain, and when I sympathized with the latter, he said: "What do you pay for our Navy; do you pay anything?" And when I said, no. "Then shut up," he said; and I hadn't a very good argument to give back to him. I only told him that I would pray for him, that is all I could say!
The meeting tonight, as I understand it, is that we may really decide to achieve something and to establish a movement which will go out beyond this city of ours, and I want to say to the teachers who are here, to the men who represent the public schools of the city, and the men who represent the universities of the city, that I believe it would do you good to have the privilege of going out into the neighbouring cities and towns, up and down throughout this country on Saturday evenings as we might do, even if we had to pay our own expenses, and addressing meetings of our brothers everywhere up and down through the country. I think we ought to meet and decide that we would ask the head of our Education Department of this Province and every Province to try to arrange that once a year there ought to be a flag ceremony, or some other ceremony, in the schools that meant patriotism; and the preachers and the politicians and everybody who spoke to speak reverently of the great Empire and our position in the Empire and to show this map Mr. Murray has given us to-night; and in some way show our relationship to the Empire and the fact that we ought to rise to our position as the centre of that great realm and the better part of America. Let us understand we have the right to the name Americans, too, but let us make our name so honoured that all boys and girls shall be proud to be called Canadians. I hope as a result of this meeting to-night that a joint Committee will be formed representing the Empire Club and our teaching profession of all grades in this city--Protestant and Roman Catholic, University, Public School and High School-so that we may come together and adopt some plan for meetings at least once a month in the future; not simply to have an oration delivered by distinguished gentlemen, but more than that; that is fine, but more than that we should organize a definite system by which something may be achieved. To-night the great thing is that splendid address by a splendid Canadian; what I liked was the fundamental ideal of the whole thing, that spirit of majesty that seemed to come out from the address, a consciousness of power, a consciousness of undeveloped power in this country, and I tell Professor Leacock, if he is willing to come, that the teachers of Toronto would all like to have the opportunity of hearing him some day in the not-distant future. I have very great pleasure in seconding that resolution of thanks to Professor Leacock.
President Murray: Gentlemen, before asking you to express your opinion, I want to tell you that it was our hope to have had with us to-night the Hon. Dr. Pyne, Minister of Education, but late in the afternoon I got word from him that owing to the very short time left at the disposal of the Legislature he had to beg off on account of important public work. I may tell you, gentlemen, that not very many days ago the Chamberlain Chapter, Daughters of the Empire, waited on the Premier of the Province with a petition in connection with the flag in our schools, and he told us that he hoped to have some legislation passed at this Session which will commend itself to the most enthusiastic of the United Empire advocates. He has arranged for flags for the schools and he told us of something else that we would like even better than that, but he would not give us the satisfaction of knowing what it is. Gentlemen, I will ask you to express your opinion about that vote of thanks. (Applause, the audience rising.) Professor Leacock, I have much pleasure in extending to you the thanks of this Club and of the teachers of the City for the privilege of having you with them to listen to this magnificent address you have given us tonight.
Professor Leacock: I thank you very much, Mr. President, for your kind words and vote of thanks. I had dared to hope that I might say what would be a certain stimulus to some of you here, but I have myself received the very greatest stimulus on the path I intend to tread, from the words I have listened to from the other speakers, and I thank you not only for your vote of thanks but for the privilege I have enjoyed in being here.
Professor McGillivray of Glasgow was here called upon and said: It gives me very great pleasure indeed to have the privilege and honour of addressing such a meeting as this. I take it that I owe it to the fact that I am a stranger-no, not a stranger, a visitor-within your gates and a Scotchman to boot, and I take it in the latter capacity I have a certain right to speak in any assembly where patriotism and loyalty are in question; because these words are emblazoned on every page of our national history and they are part and parcel of our common life in Scotland. Of course, as Robert Louis Stevenson has said, we have to pay a certain price for that, for the glorious privilege of being a Scotchman; we have in our youth to learn the Shorter Catechism. And we have in our manhood to learn to drink whiskey as a protection against our vile climate. (Laughter.) I do not know exactly whether that is the case nowadays or not; both these virtues or vices are going out of date in Scotland, but from what I have heard this evening I feel that the very same ideas of patriotism and loyalty that are so prevalent in Scotland are also prevalent in Canada. And why should it not be so, because we are all, both Canadians and Britishers, influenced by strains and tendencies flowing from afar, and by the currents and mysterious whispers of the blood. So spoke one of our noblest and most patriotic clansmen a short time ago, and I feel in going back to Scotland that I will carry home a message from you Canadians, a message saying that you are as loyal and as patriotic as ever you could possibly be. In regard to what has been said about teaching patriotism in the schools, I really feel that you are doing ever so much more in Canada here than we are doing in Scotland. I also feel that you require to do more. We are, so to speak, on the very hearth of patriotism; you are, to a certain extent, on the outside of the house and you have in a much greater extent than we have, a mixed people to train and educate into the principles of the Anglo-Saxon race. It has given me very great pleasure to be here tonight, and one of the best associations of my American trip will be my visit to Toronto, where I have seen some of the finest educational work that I have seen in travelling over some of the greatest cities of the Continent. I think you should be proud of your schools in Toronto, so far as I have seen them, and you should be proud of the man at the head, Mr. Hughes. I have again to thank you for the privilege and the honour of being permitted to address you.