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known as the river and harbor bill; the courageous maintenance and extension of the merit system in appointments to subordinate positions under the government; the reform of the present system of taxation, so as to make wealth bear its proper share of the cost of government; the subjecting of the great monopolies which now control so much of the business of the country and so many of the necessaries of life to inspection and control by public authority; the devising of some just system of preventing the rapidly increasing conflicts between employers and employed; and the establishing of just and proper qualifications alike for immigrants and for electors.
It certainly would tend to make private property far more secure in America if the less fortunate majority of our population saw us of the more fortunate minority giving courage and time and thought to efforts to solve these problems and others like them, and thereby to lessen some of the evils which in many cases bear so heavily and so unjustly upon the poor.
Indeed, the influence of ethical ideals upon American democracy ought to be considered of value if only because the cultivation of such ideals will inevitably tend to make more really patriotic all classes of our countrymen, for such ideals lift us all above the unsatified standards of public duty with which we are vainly trying to content ourselves.
They bring us into the air of a higher and purer love of country, and they set us face to face with the early American spirit in its best estate. In such communion a sordid and selfish public opinion, with low methods to mean ends, tends to disappear, and a cowardly and corrupt public life becomes less possible.
me, but I am sure you will pardon
me for speaking of what seem to me to be the grave evils of the present tendencies of our national life and the serious dangers which, because of them, threaten the future of this government of ours, which our fathers sought to rest upon the enduring basis of liberty regulated by law,-a government which has the devotion of all our hearts to such degree that to keep it strong
and free we would all gladly lay down our lives; and while we must never despair of the republic, we must never cease our efforts to make it more worthy of the greatness of the opportunity offered it,—that of the leadership of the nations toward a civilization more peaceful, more serene, and more humane than the world has ever known.
Meanwhile it is consoling to know that, notwithstanding our failure to discharge our civic duties, many of the currents of our national life flow smoothly on, for the daily and obscure labors of the vast majority of our fellow citizens continue year after year in all the different phases of our national existence, and the laborers themselves have been sowing and reaping, working steadily at the tasks appointed them, taking the sunshine and the rain, mutely enduring the sufferings and the burdens given them to bear, and quitting themselves worthily as good men and women ought to do; and that daily confronting of the daily task, and doing it with patience, contentment, and courage, is as true to-day as ever; while it is also true that the recompense of such deserving labors, while less proportionately, is actually far greater in all measures, material and spiritual, than ever before, so that after all abatement we may regard the past with abundant gratitude and the future with absolute confidence, while on the threshold of the new century it is still true that the happiest of political fortunes is to be an American citizen, and that
fortune is sure to grow happier “ with the process of the suns.'
The present paralysis of our moral courage; our present cowardly tolerance of loathsome corruption and its kindred evils, which seem seriously to threaten our peace; our present animal lust for blood; and the general degradation of the national spirit we are here considering,—will prove to be only temporary evils and will soon pass away, for the Ameriean conscience is not dead, but sleepeth, and even if we do not, our children will return to the old ways and the old faith.
Let me repeat once more for your encouragement and my own those inspired words of the first great American: “The nation shall under God have a new birth of freedom, and government of the people by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
I am very grateful to this learned society for the repeated expression of its desire that I should address it. This year your invitation overtook me in the South, where
“ By the beached margent of the sea ”
-I had just been reading a tale, the scene of which was laid in Italy, and cherishing the illusion that I was again standing for a moment on" the parapet of an old villa built on the Alban hills.” Below I seem to see
-"olive vineyards and pine plantations sink slope after slope, fold after fold, to the Campagna, and beyond the Campagna, along the whole shining land of the west, the sea met the sunset, while to the north a dim and scattered whiteness, rising from the plain, was—Rome.”
And then, turning the leaves in the hope of finding another familiar scene, I was surprised to read these words :
“ There are symbols and symbols. That dome of St. Peter's yonder makes my heart beat, because it speaks so
much-half the history of our race. But I remember another symbol, those tablets in Memorial Hall to the Harvard men that fell in the war—that wall, those names, that youth and death, they remain as the symbol of the other great majesty in the world—one is religion and the other is country.”
Reading those words, I seemed to hear again the illustrious laureate of your illustrious dead, who gave their youth for liberty, and standing here they seem indeed to
-“ come transfigured back,
In the spirit of their great sacrifice let us all cherish, in cheerfulness and in hopefulness an abiding devotion to both symbols,—that of religion and that of country; and let us labor together to the end that all the elevating influences which wait
may be more widely and generally diffused among all classes of our countrymen, and that we may all more ardently cherish the ethical idealism which seeks after peace and liberty, after equality and fraternity, and after respect and reverence for law.
In these ways, and in others we know not of, our American system of social and political life, by far the best ever yet enjoyed upon earth, may be placed upon the broad and enduring basis of true religion and true patriotism, and then at last the nation long foretold may appear, whose foundations are laid in fair colors and whose borders are of pleasant stones, and to it the promise of the prophet may be redeemed : their children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be, the peace of their children.”
AMUEL EDWARD DAWSON, a prominent Canadian printer and author,
was school in that city-commencing his business of bookseller and stationer at Montreal in partnership with his father. He was one of the founders of the “ Dominion Bank Company,” 1879, and one of the promoters of the “ Montreal News Company," 1880. Appointed a member of the Board of Protestant School Commissioners, Montreal, 1878, he became also a member of the Board of Arts and Manufactures of the Province of Quebec, and was subsequently for some years president of that body, and likewise secretary to the Art Association. Dr. Dawson was one of the earliest contributors to the “Canadian Monthly Magazine," and has written many essays and articles on literary and historic subjects for the Atheneum Club, the Montreal “ Gazette," the Montreal Star," the Toronto “ Week," and other well-known journals. Of separate works from his pen, the most important is “ A Study of Lord Tennyson's Poem 'The Princess,'" (1882; 2d ed., 1884), which has been pronounced “the best and most appreciative study of the poem that has anywhere appeared." The preface to the last edition contains a long and interesting letter from the veteran Laureate, which “throws some light upon some important literary questions re. garding the manner and method of the poet's working, and repudiates the charge of conscious imitation or plagiarism. Lord Tennyson truthfully described the “ Study” as an able and thoughtful essay." Dr. Dawson has also written two able monographs on the voyages of tho Cabots and the land-fall of 1497, which were read before the Royal Society of Canada, of which honorable body he was elected a Fellow in 1893. In 1890 he received the degree of Litt. D. from Laval University, and was appointed Queen's Printer, and Controller of Stationery of Canada on November 7, 1891. He still fills the office as “King's Printer." It may be added that in 1881 he was appointed a delegate to Washington on the subject of " International Copyright.”
THE PROSE WRITERS OF CANADA
[Address prepared for the American Library Association and delivered at Montreal, June 11, 1900. The fact that it was written for the librariani of America will account for the line of thought running through the address; because, outside of a few great institutions, few Canadian books aro found in the libraries of the United States.]
T is not possible in the compass of one lecture to give an adequate account of the prose-writers of Canada. In the
first place there is the difficulty of dealing with a bi-lingual literature, and then there is the difficulty of separating