« PreviousContinue »
Why should not these three great branches of the family flourish, under different systems of government it may be, but forming one grand whole, proud of a common origin and of their advanced civilization ? The clover lifts its trefoil leaves to the evening dew, yet they draw their nourishment from a single stem. Thus distinct, and yet united, let us live and flourish. Why should we not ? For nearly two thousand years we were one family. Our fathers fought side by side at Hastings, and heard the curfew toll. They fought in the same ranks for the sepulchre of our Saviour. In the earlier and later civil wars, we can wear our white and red roses without a blush, and glory in the principles those conflicts established. Our common ancestors won the great Charter and the Bill of Rights; established free Parliaments, the Habeas Corpus, and Trial by Jury. Our Jurisprudence comes down from Coke and Mansfield to Marshall and Story, rich in knowledge and experience which no man can divide. From Chaucer to Shakespeare our literature is a common inheritance. Tennyson and Longfellow write in one language, which is enriched by the genius developed on either side of the Atlantic. In the great navigators from Cortereal to Hudson, and in all their “moving accidents by flood and field,” we have a common interest.
On this side of the sea we have been largely reinforced both by the Germans and French; there is strength in both elements. The Germans gave to us the sovereigns who established our freedom, and they give to you industry, intelligence and thrift; and the French, who have distinguished themselves in arts and arms for centuries, now strengthen the Provinces which the fortune of war decided they could not control.
But it may be said we have been divided by two wars. What then ? The noble St. Lawrence is split in two places-by Goat Island and Anticosti—but it comes down to us from the same springs in the same mountain sides ; its waters sweep together past the pictured rocks of Lake Superior, and encircle in their loving embrace the shores of Huron and Michigan. They are divided at Niagara Falls as we were at the Revolutionary War, but they come together again on the peaceful bosom of Ontario. Again they are divided on their passage to the sea; but who thinks of divisions when they lift the keels of commerce, or when, drawn up to heaven, they form the rainbow or the cloud ? . . . . I see around the door the flags of the two countries. United as they are there, I would have them draped together, fold within fold, and let
“Their varying tints unite,
One arch of peace.”
SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD (1815-1891)
THE “PERPETUAL PREMIER” OF THE DOMINION
O other man has played so great a part in Canada as Sir John
Alexander Macdonald, in a measure before and notably since
the confederation of its provinces. It was the leading purpose of his life to found on the vast Canadian domain a mighty and powerful state, by the union of its peoples and provinces, and this union he succeeded in accomplishing. From 1844 to the end of his career he was the most conspicuous figure in the Canadian Assembly and the Dominion Parliament. The united Canada of to-day is very largely the fruit of his labors. The first government for the new Dominion was formed by him in 1867, and from that time until his death, with only a five years' intermission, he retained the premiership. Another of the great services which Canada owes to him is the Canadian Pacific Railway, one of the most magnificent engineering enterprises on the continent, which runs through some of the grandest scenery in the world, and which has aided wonderfully in cementing into one the far-separated members of the Dominion confederacy.
THE TREATY OF WASHINGTON
[The treaty of Washington, concluded in 1871, was the greatest diplomatic event in Macdonald's career. By it were settled the questions of the fisheries and various other subjects of acrimonious debate between the Dominion and the United States. In this Macdonald had to fight his way not alone against the Washington diplomats, but also against his British colleagues, and it was with the greatest difficulty he obtained a treaty at all. On his return to Canada he was received as John Jay was in the United States after the treaty of 1794. Men called him a Judas Iscariot and Benedict Arnold in one, and years passed before he received the credit he had well earned by his judicious and patriotic efforts. His speech before the Canadian Parliament on this subject was the most eloquent ever heard from his lips. We give an extract from the peroration of this able address.]
SIR JOHN MACDONALD
I shall now move the first reading of this bill, and I shall simply sum up my remarks by saying that with respect to the treaty I consider that every portion of it is unobjectionable to the country, unless the articles connected with the fisheries may be considered objectionable. With respect to those articles, I ask this House fully and calmly to consider the circumstances, and I believe, if they fully consider the situation, that they will say it is for the good of Canada that those articles should be ratified. Reject the treaty, and you do not get reciprocity; reject the treaty, and you leave the fishermen of the Maritime Provinces at the mercy of the Americans ; reject the treaty, and you will leave the merchants engaged in that trade off from the American market : reject the treaty, and you will have a large annual expenditure in keeping up a marine police force to protect those fisheries, amounting to about $84,000 per annum ; reject the treaty, and you will have to call upon England to send her fleet and give you both her moral and physical support, although you will not adopt her policy; reject the treaty, and you will find that the bad feeling which formerly and until lately existed in the United States against England will be transferred to Canada ; that the United States will say, and say justly: “Here, where two great nations like England and the United States have settled all their differences and all their quarrels upon a perpetual basis, these happy results are to be frustrated and endangered by the Canadian people, because they have not got the value of their fish for ten years.”
It has been said by the honorable gentleman on my left (Mr. Howe), in his speech to the Young Men's Christian Association, that England had sacrificed the interests of Canada. If England has sacrificed the interests of Canada, what sacrifice has she not made in the cause of peace ? Has she not, for the sake of peace between these two great nations, rendered herself liable, leaving out all indirect claims, to pay millions out of her own treasury? Has she not made all this sacrifice, which only Englishmen and English statesmen know, for the sake of peace—and for whose sake has she made it? Has she not made it principally for the sake of Canada? Let Canada be severed from England, let England not be responsible to us, and for us, and what could the United States do to England ? Let England withdraw herself into her shell, and what can the United States do? England has got the supremacy of the sea-she is impregnable in every point but one, and that point is Canada ; and if England does call on us to make a financial sacrifice; does find it for the good of the empire that we, England's first colony, should sacrifice something ; I say that we would be unworthy of our proud position if we were not prepared to do so.
SIR JOHN MACDONALD
I hope to live to see the day, and if I do not that my son may be spared to see Canada the right arm of England, to see Canada a powerful auxiliary to the empire,-not as now a cause of anxiety and a source of danger. And I think that if we are worthy to hold that position as the right arm of England, we should not object to a sacrifice of this kind when so great an object is attained, and the object is a great and lasting
It is said that amities between nations cannot be perpetual ; but I say that this treaty, which has gone through so many difficulties and dangers, if it is carried into effect, removes almost all possibility of war. If ever there was an irritating cause of war, it was from the occurrences arising out of the escape of those vessels, and when we see the United States people and Government forget this irritation, forget those occurrences, and submit such a question to arbitration, to the arbitration of a disinterested tribunal, they have established a principle which can never be forgotten in this world. No future question is ever likely to arise that will cause such irritation as the escape of the Alabama did, and if they could be got to agree to leave such a matter to the peaceful arbitrament of a friendly power, what future cause of quarrel can, in the imagination of man, occur that will not bear the same pacific solution that is sought for in this ? I believe that this treaty is an epoch in the history of civilization; that it will set an example to the wide world that must be followed; and with the growth of the great Anglo-Saxon family, and with the development of that mighty nation to the south of us, I believe that the principle of arbitration will be advocated and adopted as the sole principle of settlement of differences between the English-speaking peoples, and that it will have a moral influence on the world.
GEORGE BROWN (1818-1880)
IKE many of the Canadian leaders, George Brown was born on
the island of Great Britain, Edinburgh being his natal home.
He became a journalist in New York in 1838, and from there drifted to Canada, where, in 1844, he founded the Toronto Globe. Of this he remained the proprietor until his death, which was due to a wound received from a discharged employee of the paper. Brown's legislative career began in the Parliament of Upper Canada, of which for a short time in 1857 he was the premier. In 1873 he was elected to the Dominion Senate, and in the following year served at Washington as a plenipotentiary from Canada. Politically he was one of the principal leaders of the Reform or Liberal party, whose principles he advocated with voice and pen.
THE GREATNESS AND DESTINY OF CANADA [Hopkins's “Story of the Dominion” in speaking of the conference of the “Fathers of Confederation” at Quebec, in 1864, tells us that “ George Brown, the energetic, forceful personality, the honest lover of his country, the bitter antagonist of French or Catholic supremacy in its affairs, was present with a sincere desire to advance the cause of union which, for some years, he had been most earnestly advocating.” We give the forceful peroration of his speech before the Canadian Parliament on this important subject.]
One hundred years have passed away since the conquest of Quebec, but here we sit, the children of the victor and the vanquished, all avowing hearty attachment to the British Crown, all earnestly deliberating how we shall best extend the blessings of British institutions; how a great people may be established on this continent, in close and hearty connection with Great Britain. Where, sir, in the page of history, shall we find a parallel to this? Will it not stand as an imperishable monument to the generosity of British rule? And it is not in Canada alone that this scene