Our Country: Its Dangers and Its Needs
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The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 10 Apr 1907, p. 314-324
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Mills, Right Rev. Dr. Wm. Lennox, Speaker
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Text
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Speeches
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A review of the wealth and resources of our country. Some dollar figures in terms of industry and production. The beauty of our scenery from coast to coast. Indications of our prosperity. Our dangers: real, and arising from a lack of cohesiveness coming from the different elements of which our nationality is composed. The danger that these foreign elements may in time overwhelm the Canadian portion and vastly surpass them in numbers as well as the immigrants from the Motherland who are coming to settle in Canada. The number of languages spoken in the Northwest of Canada. Ways in which our difficulties in this regard differ from those of the United States. The issue of manhood suffrage. The need for honest, patriotic men to represent us and to administer our country's affairs. Ways in which the representation of our country is really and truly a complete and perfect representation, with anecdotal illustration. The loyalty of the people of Canada towards things British and the British throne. The unifying influence of Imperialism. Congratulations to the Empire Club and its members on the ideals they have placed before them, and the work they are striving to do.
Comments from The Very Reverend Dean Farthing, Kingston.
Date of Original
10 Apr 1907
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English
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Full Text
OUR COUNTRY: ITS DANGERS AND ITS NEEDS.
Address by the Right Rev. Dr. Wm. Lennox Mills, Lord Bishop of Ontario,before the Empire Club of Canada, on April loth, 1907.

Mr. President and Gentlemen:

The subject which I see I am announced to speak upon today is "Our Country and Its Responsibilities." With your permission, I would change it very slightly, and call the subject "Our Country: Its Dangers and Its Needs." With regard to its material aspects there is nothing to be desired; our lot has indeed been cast in a fair place and ours is a goodly heritage. Of its vastness few have any adequate conception or of its fertility or productiveness; capable of producing fruits and vegetables of all kinds, excepting those which can be only grown in tropical climates, and grains of every kind, from the wheat which makes the bread which strengthens man's heart down to the grains of coarser quality and for commoner use. The mineral wealth, too, of this country is- of the most varied kind and practically inexhaustible. We have been slow to seek for it and to find it, and at times it seemed to come forth out of its hiding place as if to attract our attention. I fancy that it will yet be found that there is more than one Cobalt in our Province and that there are few of what we have been in the habit of regarding as barren sections in our country because of the mineral deposits which they contain.

We have coal mines, east and west, vast oil regions, natural gas which is being used now not only by many villages and towns for lighting but also for heating purposes. No country has greater, nay, has equal natural facilities in the form of water-power for the developing of electrical energy, which in future is likely to occupy so large a place in the world's work and business and to supersede all other kinds of power. It has seen estimated that we have in Canada over 40 percent of the water-power of the world. What a wonderful store of wealth we have in our forests, wasted in the past with reckless prodigality but still representing enormous riches. Our vast pasture lands have climatic conditions usually such as to develop and maintain the rich grasses on which our flocks and herds may feed and which serve to make our dairy interests so valuable an asset to this country. What wealth we have, also, in the cold, deep waters of the country and the stretches of ocean, in which Canada has rights, all literally swarming with fish of the choicest variety!

In 1904 (I have not seen the returns since, but I am told they are even greater) this industry gave to the Dominion $23,500,000, and in the Province of Ontario, according to the returns of the Department in 1905, it gave employment to 3,274 persons, and the result in money was $1,964,684. The Province expended upon this industry the sum of $31,000 and the gross revenue from it was nearly $47,000, making a net revenue of over $16,000. What a magnificent chain, too, of lakes and rivers we have, which serve to moderate our climate and so to increase its healthfulness and productiveness, and, as they flow through or by our villages and towns and cities, they serve to turn the busy wheels of many factories and so to give employment to thousands botb of men and women, and at the same time provide a cheaper highway than otherwise could be had towards the ocean and the old lands lying beyond. Where could you find a more varied, more bracing or more healthful climate than we have, little thought of and appreciated ofttimes by ourselves, but highly thought of and appreciated by people who come to visit us from other countries? Where can you find lands better or more perfectly adanted for agricultural purposes than we have in the Annanolis vallev in Nova Scotia, in the Eastern Townships of the Province of Quebec, in a large portion of the Province of Ontario, in the thousands of miles of rolling prairies of the great North West, and in the stretches lying between the mountain ranges or along the coast in British Columbia.

People often go from our country to distant lands and to other countries in search of the picturesque and the beautiful, little dreaming that nothing more picturesque, more beautiful or more wonderful can be found anywhere in God's world than within the borders of this Dominion of Canada. We have in the Bay of Fundy the highest tides in the world, rising sometimes to a height of over fifty feet. We have in the Province of New Brunswick the wonderful sight of not only a great river rushing with swift current in two opposite directions at different times in the day, but a vast waterfall running with tremendous force and power in two different and opposite directions at different times in the twenty-four hours. In the Province of Quebec we have that beautiful and graceful sheet of water that I suppose almost every one here has seen, the Montmorency Falls. We have the Shawanigan or Great Falls, and we have the magnificent scenery of Lake Memphremagog and others.

The scenery of these lakes is attracting every year in greater numbers Americans who come and summer upon their shores, while many of our own people have never seen them, perhaps have scarcely heard of them. They certainly compare very favourably in their beauty with any of the English, Scotch or Irish lakes. Where can you find such a river as the St. Lawrence; where can you find anything so beautiful as the Thousand Islands of that river; unless it be the Ten Thousand Islands of the Georgian Bay? The Canadian portion of the Falls of Niagara can only be compared in its grandeur with the higher Falls of Kakabekha on the Kaministiquia River, which enters into Lake Superior by Fort William. Our whole country, our whole Province, is dotted with lakes and rivers of varying beauty and attractiveness, such as the Rideau Lakes and the Lakes of the Muskoka District, whilst the Northern portion of the Province of Quebec has lakes in sight of one another of wonderful beauty and attractiveness wherever you may go. These lakes are bringing our neighbours from across the borders, who have a faculty of discovering generally what is worth seeing and worth having, and as the saying goes, know a good thing when they see it, in ever-increasing numbers to summer upon the shores of these lakes and rivers. What was said of the land which God gave to his ancient people is applicable to our own land: "A good land and a large, a land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths which spring out of valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley and vines; a land wherein you can eat bread without scarceness; you shall lack nothing in it."

In the Rockies you have scenery very similar to that which you will meet with in Switzerland, and as grand as you can possibly look upon there; whilst in the Selkirks you have scenery that is absolutely unique, nothing I believe to surpass it, scarcely be compared with it, anywhere in this world. I have travelled pretty largely, and I have never seen anything to equal it. You have not the limited glaciers of Switzerland, but miles and miles glistening in the sunshine with all the colours of the rainbow, and the brightness of a diamond. And such wonderful contrasts in the scenery. As one has said, "You have here a brotherhood of clustered peaks, and there the solitude of a mountain monolith; here you have a gladsome glade, and there a chilling glacier; here an inviting grove, and there a gloomy cavern; here a friendly valley with green grass and purple flower, and there a frowning cliff; here you have a raging torrent, and there a laughing cascade; here a rushing river, and there a placid stream." The magnificence and grandeur of the vision on which the eye rests, and which as a panorama passes before you as you journey through those mountain ranges that lie between here and the Pacific Coast simply overwhelms and amazes you. There is no country more deserving, I feel, of the love, loyalty, and devotion -of its people in all the wide world which God has made and blessed. There is not another country more richly endowed in many respects than this Canada of ours. everything which ought to make a country great and a people prosperous has been instrusted to us in fullest measure and, remember, we are not only citizens of this great country so picturesque, so wonderful, so richly endowed, but we dwell in the fairest portion of it, the Province of Ontario, which has been spoken of and named as the "Garden of Canada."

So prosperous are we that our revenue now exceeds our expenditure. We are able to boast of an actual surplus of revenue, and besides all these material things we have all the blessings of a free and constitutional government in this Dominion, embodying the dignity and honour and stability of the Throne and giving at the same time all the freedom which could possibly be enjoyed in the freest republic--a freedom which only stops short of license. Other men have laboured and we have entered into their labours. We are enjoying the experience and works of older countries. We have the fullest civil and religious liberty; everyone may dwell at peace under his own vine and his fig-tree, none making him afraid. The shield of the flag of the Empire to which he belongs is pledged to his defence. Our educational system too, taking all things into consideration, is wonderfully perfect and far-reaching. So complete is it that the poorest child in the land may become possessed of a liberal education, and so, if he have the ability, be fitted to occupy the highest position attainable in the land.

No country gives greater privileges or furnishes greater opportunities to its people than does this Canada of ours. The highest position in the land has no closed doors or barriers in the way of the person who has the abilitv and the determination to reach the position. Work, earnestness and fidelity will always in Canada meet with their due reward, but all these things undoubtedly have been given us in trust. They are responsibilities that have been vouchsafed to us. This principle is true with reference to the State, the Commonwealth, even as it is of the individual. God has given us this good land and these privileges and we are stewards, but all for Him. It is not mere vast territorial possessions or accumulations of wealth or a large population, though all these give power to a people, or influence in the world's councils, but rather the character of the people, that matters. God's ancient people as a nation compared with other nations was but small, yet as they loved truth and righteousness and were faithful in their allegiance to their Heavenly King they made their mark in the world's history. Greece, as regards territory, was comparatively small, but it had a marvellous influence because of its stability of character, its integrity, its loyalty to its ideals; its simplicity of thought always begot force of action. The British Isles have left a wonderful mark upon the world's history of which every member of the Empire may well be proud, chiefly because their people as a people have loved truth and have frowned upon everything base, or ignoble, or mean.

Now our dangers, and they are real, arise in the first place from lack of cohesiveness, and this comes from the different elements of which our nationality is composed. There are pouring into our country, and especially into our great North-West, by the tens of thousands almost every day people from every nation under heaven. They have their own customs, their own ideas, their own notions of government, their own religions, and some of them are without any religion at all. The country for the present, at least, is nothing to them except for what they can get out of it, and there is a clanger that these foreign elements may in time overwhelm the Canadian portion and vastly surpass them in numbers as well as the immigrants from the Mother-land who are coming to settle in -Canada and make it their home, having hearts filled with love for British institutions and loyalty to the British throne. I am told that at the present time there are over thirty different languages spoken in the North-West. It may be said, and it has been said, that the United States has had to meet the same difficulties and has not suffered from them, but that is not true. They have not had to grapple with; and to deal with the same dangers in this respect to which we are exposed. Their own people had to a very large extent settled the Western States, and had stamped upon it a certain civilization and character before the incoming tide of foreign immigration had set in, and so they were able to stamp upon that incoming immigration a certain national character, and were able to control it. Then a dual language and Separate schools constitute another disintegrating force amongst us. Making the people two instead of one causes them oft-times to look upon each other with suspicion and to be toward each other strangers instead of friends. The one official language in the Common school has been largely the instrumentality in the United States by which the various elements were assimilated in a national existence which is not as old as some of its inhabitants, and consequently cannot inspire with that love with which the older countries can fill the hearts of their people. The country must have a history; must be able to tell of achievement; must be able to tell of conflicts waged and victories won; of oppressions overcome and liberties gained; in order to inspire its people with love, such love as men have had for country in the past and still have, which has led them not only to do, but even to die in its defence.

Then there is another reason--and that is manhood suffrage.--the ideal condition, and vet having connected with it many things that work against the interest of a country. The man who has no stake in the country at ail has, so far as his vote goes, the same influence and the same power as the man possessed of hundreds of thousands of dollars which he has at stake in the country's welfare or the country's future. He looks upon his vote as worth so much to him as a mere financial asset, and he is ready oft-times to sell it to the highest bidder, arid so it has been a real source of danger and a real cause of wrong often-times to every country where manfood suffrage exists. Then, again, there has been a lack of high ideals for sometime past, amongst the men who have, sought public place in our land. The question with many of them has been not " What can I do for my country?" but "How much can I get out of her?" "What can I secure from her?" They have sought office for office-sake. There has been much party but little patriotism, and neither party can boast of a monopoly of either purity or corruption. As between their it is largely a question of the ins and outs. The practical policy of the present Dominion Government, to all intents and purposes, is exactly the policy of its predecessor which was opposed strongly whilst in power.

Our country, looked at from any point of view you please, is most desirable. As I have said, we have a magnificent climate; we have marvellous mineral wealth; we have picturesqueness that is exceptional and truly wonderful. The principles of our government are all that could be desired. What we do need are honest, patriotic men to represent us and to administer our country's affairs: to be rid of graft and partisanship and the evils connected with party politics. The representation of our country is not really and truly a complete and perfect representation, a representation of the people, though people generally suppose it is. A few wire-pulling politicians get together and hold what they call a convention. Everything has been arranged beforehand and a person is chosen to represent the party. Often-times he would not be the person whom the party as a party, would choose, but because he has been chosen the party feels bound to stand back and support him.

Some years ago put in the country I met a man who seemed to be in great trouble politically. He told 'me that his party had chosen a man whom he characterized as an evildoer, an immoral man, practically an unbeliever. He had never done anything for the constituency. He was a wire-puller, a political heeler. He had brought influence to bear by which his party had chosen him as representative; whilst the man of the opposite party was a good man, a member of the same church to which he belonged, a teacher in the Sunday School; had done a great deal for the constituency; but, he said: "Of course, I must stand by my party and go against my friend." I read him a lecture, I assure you, very plainly given, and I trust that it had the influence of leading him to change his mind and to vote differently from the way in which he intended to vote; in other words, that his party lost that particular vote.

As regards the loyalty of the people of Canada towards things British and the British throne there can be no possibility of doubt. Indeed, they are more loyal than the English themselves. We are far enough away from Royalty not to be dazzled, far enough away not to see any specks that may be upon the sun. However some may dream of an independent national existence, the holding of a vaster Empire than has been, the mother and daughter keeping house separately, yet often taking sweet counsel together and walking as friends, none think of annexation to the neighbouring republic now. Wherever such idea may have been held in the past, certainly, so far as I know, and I know pretty widely the spirit of Canadians, for I have had to do pretty largely with men of all classes throughout the Dominion, all such views and all such ideas have long since been cut down, dried up and withered.

Imperialism has in it a unifying influence, which certainly, under present conditions, the idea of an independent national existence, cannot possibly offer. The magnificence of Britain's past; the splendour of her present, which promises an ever-enlarging and brightening future; her stand for truth and righteousness which has led John Bull to be regarded as the moral policeman of the world; and the Empire, as the last court of appeal in all questions of international right and wrong, have made men proud to be regarded as her sons, and ready to do everything in their power to strengthen the bonds which connect them with her and make them one together. And so, in closing, I would congratulate the Empire Club and its members on the ideals they have placed before them, and the work that you are striving to do of trying to impress upon Canadians Imperial ideas, and so to unite them more and more strongly with the Mother-land; to snake them feel the responsibilities which devolve upon them as members of this mighty Empire, the greatest that the world has ever known, embracing, as it does, one-fifth of the land area of the world, and composed of more than 600,000,000 of people, bound together closely so that they are almost one living body; bound together not by force, but by mutual ties of interest and of brotherhood, and of allegiance to a common sovereign. In doing this, gentlemen, you are doing the greatest work for this country and for its people that can possibly be done, so I wish the members, and the Club as a whole, all success in the work that you are endeavouring to do in this respect.

The Very Reverend Dean Farthing, Kingston.--Mr. President and Gentlemen: I came here with very great pleasure as a guest, for two purposes, to enjoy with you the speech that we have just heard, and also as one of the Clergy of the Ontario Diocese to keep my eye upon my Bishop when he is away from home; so I was not expecting for a moment to be called up. Referring, however, to the address to which we have just listened, there are perhaps some things whch would appeal to us all as not only Canadians but also as members of the greater British Empire, that we have in Canada to put before ourselves as ideals. The Bishop has stated some of our dangers. I have not time to enter into that again, but we have to put before ourselves ideals, and those ideals must be the goal towards which we are all pressing, and for the attainment of which we are willing to make any and every sacrifice. It is no use having ideals that you wrap in a silk handkerchief and put away and look at on state occasions; unless we are striving to work them out. When we have an ideal that has been handed down to us, of the highest honour and integrity in public life and commercial life, that has made the British Empire what it is; that has made her men brave; has made her men fearless to do the honest thing even though it mean disaster financially; I say that such an ideal as this must be held and sought after by sacrifice. It is well enough to applaud ideals when the sun is shining on them. It is a totally different thing to face ridicule and make sacrifice for their sake, and that is characteristic of the British Empire. It won the freedom of the Britons. They were ready to fight and die for it, and actually did die for it. What made the United Empire Loyalists what they are in our esteem, but the sacrifice that they made for their ideals?

Now, I have stood upon a platform with a man who opposed the ideal that I was holding very strongly, and who, after his address opposing my ideal, said to me, "I fully agree with you." "Well,", I said, "why are you opposing me?" He said, "It is Political Expediency." I say a man who would sacrifice ideals for political expediency is a traitor to the British Empire, and to mankind. If the Bishop and I were to be drawn up on traditional political lines, we would be found on different sides, but we are united in this, that there is an ideal that we are both after, and we are willing to sacrifice the interests of party. And I feel when I look at my party and see some dastardly deed done there, and men come to me and say, "We want you to be quiet about that"; I say, "I won't be quiet about it." If the outrage is in my party it affects me. If it is in the other party it affects the other fellow far more than it does me. But if I am associated with men who do these things that are corrupt, and I acquiesce in them by silence, or by endorsing them, I am a party to such corruption, my garments are stained with it; and when corruption is in our own party, that is the corruption we want to fight. We want men who will rise above party levels in Canada, and uphold the ideals of British manhood.

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Our Country: Its Dangers and Its Needs


A review of the wealth and resources of our country. Some dollar figures in terms of industry and production. The beauty of our scenery from coast to coast. Indications of our prosperity. Our dangers: real, and arising from a lack of cohesiveness coming from the different elements of which our nationality is composed. The danger that these foreign elements may in time overwhelm the Canadian portion and vastly surpass them in numbers as well as the immigrants from the Motherland who are coming to settle in Canada. The number of languages spoken in the Northwest of Canada. Ways in which our difficulties in this regard differ from those of the United States. The issue of manhood suffrage. The need for honest, patriotic men to represent us and to administer our country's affairs. Ways in which the representation of our country is really and truly a complete and perfect representation, with anecdotal illustration. The loyalty of the people of Canada towards things British and the British throne. The unifying influence of Imperialism. Congratulations to the Empire Club and its members on the ideals they have placed before them, and the work they are striving to do.
Comments from The Very Reverend Dean Farthing, Kingston.