Page images
PDF
EPUB

rested, and facetiously remarked how grateful he was that the chairman had just told him that no member was admitted to the Canadian Club who was over forty years of age. He also humorously observed that there were too many old men knocking about doing active work, and that no man over forty ought to be engaged in it.

Dealing with the first point of his subject, Dr. Osler said it might be fortunate or otherwise that Canada was so situated in having to the south one of the largest and most powerful nations on earth. As Britishers they should feel proud of it, for there never was a nation, ancient or modern, that had such a child, neither was there ever likely to be again. The United States had for Canadians a serious and important influence. One influence was the incessant dribbling over the border of young men, and he was told that there were in the United States to-day nearly a million Canadians, many of whom occupied prominent positions in financial circles and the leading professions, more particularly in medical and theological departments. They had been successful by reason of two special qualities, industry and thoroughness, the only two qualities worth anything in the make-up of a good man. If it were only a matter of draining the young men Dr. Osler would not mind it so much, but the most serious loss to Canada was that of the young women. Only a few months ago he was talking to a young man who had reached nearly thirty years of age without getting his affections settled, and when he asked him why he did not get married, the young man replied that all the girls who were eligible had gone to the United States. Dr. Osler had the figures from six of the large hospitals in American cities, and of 651 women in the nursing department, 196 were Canadians, which he thought was an enormous proportion, nearly one-third. Ile felt that something should be done to stop this incessant loss of the future mothers of this country.

As a remedy Dr. Osler could only see two ways, and one which found evident favor with the audience was to get the Dominion Parliament to put a tax on bachelors. Every man who had not at the age of 25 a family to support should, he thought, be helping the other fellow who had a family by paying a good big tax, which would only be a reasonable and rational political measure. And, now, as to the delicate question of the girls. To keep them in the country the doctor would have an export tax of $100 on every Canadian girl who left Canada for the United States, and here again he found a sympathetic audience. The Canadian girl was, of course, he observed, worth a good deal more, and it would even be worth the while of the country to pay the family of the girl $1,000 to keep her here. “These," said Dr. Osler, "are the suggestions I throw out to the politicians amongst you."

It was remarkable, continued the doctor, how well Canadians

[ocr errors]

were treated in the United States, and it was little wonder they went there. They were simply taken into the family, and the question was not asked as to where they came from, but

What can you do ?” Very often a carping spirit cropped up on the part of Canadians towards Americans, “but,” said Dr. Osler, “ when it does

, come up bear in mind that nearly a million of your countrymen live there, and are treated in such a way as should make you at home remember that whatever feelings you may entertain towards the United States as a nation, it ill-becomes you to speak in any way derogatory of a people amongst whom we live as brethren, and that we could not live better at home." After speaking of various conflicts which had been waged and done so much for this country, Dr. Osler alluded to the Alabama and Alaskan disputes, and pointed out the great compensation Americans brought here every summer by visiting our watering places, and making Canada their favorite resort. They should not also forget that millions of acres south of Alaska, between it and the American border, were being largely taken by American citizens, so that on all accounts Canadians should not lose sight of the fact how inadvisable it was for them to assume in any way an antagonistic or hostile attitude either in the newspapers, in public, or in private life against their American brethren amongst whom so many of them lived in harmony and comfort.

“ The British relationship of this country is a very delicate problem," continued Dr. Osler. A great many miles separated the Mother Country from Canada, and the tie, when they came down to it, was after all only one of sentiment. But after all, there

no stronger tie than that of sentiment which ruled us in every relation of life, and what stronger tie was there than that which sent thousands of young men to do battle for the Mother Country when she was in danger in South Africa ? There were of course difficulties and troubles which would require a great deal of patience on the part of the politicians of the Mother Country as well as on the part of the politicians at home during the next twenty-five years to promote the proper feelings and harmony which must exist if there was to be a.proper organic unity between the colonies and England. It was plain and open talk that there could only be three events before this country, either independence, annexation or some measure of Imperial federation. A great deal of nonsense, Dr. Osler proceeded, was talked with reference to the difficulties connected with Imperial federation. He did not see that there were difficulties in any way to be considered in opposition to the remarkable advantages the entire Empire would gain. The chief difficulty on the part of the British beyond the seas was unquestionably that they wanted everything, and were not willing to give anything in return. If, however, as Cana

was

own

dians they were going to be an integral part of the great worldwide Empire, they would have to take their share in the responsibilities of that Empire. They could not ask the mother to be constantly providing for her children. Canada was now reaching the stage of manhood, and it was high time she was taken into. partnership in the affairs of the Empire and contributed her fair share in the expenses as apportioned for carrying on and supporting it.

* And now,” said Dr. Osler, “a few words about our country. What were the ideals which they should cherish with reference to Canada ? They should first see that they had a strong race, and fortunately they were situated in a most satisfactory position for proper development. It was often spoken of as being a disadvantage to the country being so far north, but he pointed out that there had rarely been in the history of the world a very strong nation not situated in the north, and it was very much to their advantage in Canada to have a rigorous climate with the winter biting hard at times, as it was more likely to be conducive to the production of a race stronger than any other on the continent. They had already a heterogeneous commingling of English, Irish and Scotch, which was the best mixture the world had ever seen, and if, said the doctor, with a merry twinkle, an Act of Parliament could be passed compelling some Canadians to marry French-Canadian girls, the future of the race would be assured. Then they must have a strong race mentally. That, he admitted, was a very difficult matter, because whilst they could grow corn and potatoes, they could not grow brains, but they could foster elementary education by having everywhere well-equipped schools and school teachers.

“ There is no one problem of greater moment in this country than getting well-equipped schoolmasters," urged Dr. Osler. They could get plenty of girls to teach, but he did not believe in boys being brought up under a school-mistress. The difficulty was in getting young men to teach in the high schools, and those would never be obtained unless they were paid better salaries, and made to feel that their profession was one which was not only honorable and useful, and doing the best and highest work for the country, but one in which there was some prospect of looking forward to a pension whereby he would have something to provide against old age. Dr. Osler was gratified to find that the University problem in Canada was rapidly approaching solution. Nothing was more pleasing to one who had known the history of the University question here than to see the rapidity with which the universities were growing. The Provincial University would, he hoped, in time really get to the Provincial breast, and not be bottle-fed, as it had been so long.

[ocr errors]

There is no doubt that there has been a great mental awakening in this country,” proceeded Dr. Osler, and he found it reflected in the literature as represented by the magazines and scientific journals, whilst poetry, usually not thought much of by business men, was on a much higher level here than in the United States. Whilst poetry was regarded so disparagingly it was none the less an important factor in the history of a nation. Poetry tended to a higher vision, and where there was no vision people would perish, and Dr. Osler humorously suggested that if any of the business men present came across a young fellow scribbling poetry in the office they should at once raise his salary.

“The third and most important thing,” said Dr. Osler, "is after all to grow a strong race morally, and that is the hardest of the lot." He did not think that Canadians as a whole were a highly immoral people, and homicides in this country were not nearly so numerous as in the United States. Neither was drunkenness so prevalent as it used to be in the days of our forefathers, and after a few pleasantries at the expense of the Scotchmen, the doctor laughingly remarked that the great change only showed what environments would do. Illegitimacy was also exceedingly rare, and that of itself was an excellent indication of the morals of the people, whilst with another jocular shot of the doctor's

divorces are not so prevalent as some would like them.” The latter feature he attributed to the fact that the law was enacted in the Dominion Parliament, but if it had been settled by the Local Legislature he had no doubt that divorces would be as common here as in any other part of the continent.

Dr. Osler's last point was to the effect that there was far too much evil-speaking, lying and slandering in connection with Canadian political life. He thought it was altogether unnecessary and superfluous, and not right that young men should be brought up in an atmosphere in which there should be a constant feeling of hostility, and a slandering attitude in the press towards political opponents. It was not a difficult matter to correct if people would only set their hearts earnestly against it. He regarded it as much worse even than drunkenness to take a man's character away. Political opponents should be dealt with in an ordinary every day Christian spirit. It was said that Christianity could not be brought into politics. It was true as regards a certain type, “but,” said Dr. Osler, “ don't call it Christianity, but every-day behavior, which, if not strictly St. Paul's teaching, was Aristotle's true gentleman.

A hearty vote of thanks was accorded Dr. Osler for his address. FORMAL OPENING OF THE NEW ONTARIO MEDICAL

LIBRARY IN THE QUEEN'S PARK.

PERIIAPs it was characteristic that Dr. Osler, the eminent medico, the Regius Professor of Medicine, the popular author on medical subjects, in making his opening address at the Medical Library, on December 28th, should forget all about the little humbug of formally declaring it open, when the doors had been swinging for hours and everybody was already inside. His shrewd speech, not too fluent, indicated the practical mind and the eye for realities quite as much as the little oversight, and when reminded, the droll

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

way in which he handed over the bunch of keys to the dean of the medical faculty and vice-president of the Library Association betrayed the pleasant humor of a man with an extensive outlook.

Physically, Dr. Osler is not a large man as Oslers go, and the family qualities seem to have been refined and distilled, both in his appearance and his talents, in keeping with his reduced stature.

Dr. Reeve took the chair as vice-president, in the absence of Dr. J. F. W. Ross, president of the Library Association, and opened the proceedings about 4.30. A mob of eminent local physicians stood up in the council room of the new library, looking like His Majesty's commons when summoned to the bar of

« PreviousContinue »