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An Address by the HONOURABLE W. H. HOYLE, Speaker of the Ontario Legislature, before the Empire Club of Canada, on December 12, 1912
Mr. President and Gentlemen,
I have been introduced as the Speaker. Your president might have gone a step further and have said that the Speaker is not a speaker. He is precluded from speaking by virtue of the office that he holds. Our American cousin says that “time is the essence of the contract.” Knowing that you are busy men, I shall proceed at once to take a retrospective view of the development of Imperialism.
Of necessity the person who desires to become familiar with all that is meant by the word "Imperial,” must familiarize himself with almost every detail of the advancing stages which have brought us up to the present condition of affairs in the Empire which we all love and of which we are proud to be citizens.
British history may be divided into four parts. First, the training part. You see two large islands, one much closer to the Continent of Europe than the other. The tide of immigration has to flow through the larger island to the smaller one. The larger island, England, is filled with minerals and with coal; the smaller island, Ireland, is destitute of these necessities for the development of manufacturing industries. These islands, however, have been selected by Nature, or if you so prefer it, by an All-Wise Being, to become the centre of a gigantic civilization, the greatest perhaps recorded on the pages of the world's history. In these islands has been raised up a race that has succeeded in planting the flag of its country throughout the length and the breadth of the world as we know it at the present time. The trainingschool has been the shallow waters that surround these two islands. In these waters fish abound, and the island fishermen in the pursuit of their livelihood laid the foundations of that seamanship which earned them the title of the “sea dogs of the ocean.” The fisherman developed into the seaman and later, through such training as I have indicated, into the colonizer through discovery rather than conquest.
The Portuguese and the Spaniards became the supreme rulers of the sea, and in that period of the history which we are briefly reviewing, we find gentlemen buccaneers, Englishmen like Raleigh and Drake, going forth and capturing upon the high seas Spanish galleons, bringing them into port, and taking the proceeds of, I was going to say, their theft, at least their piracy. Virginia tells the tale of the failure of colonization by the then inhabitants of the Mother Land, and it was also a failure in Newfoundland. It is true that Henry VII equipped and sent forth John Cabot, who discovered Newfoundland, and he thought he was bestowing a munificent gift on that discoverer when he paid him the large sum of fifty dollars for the discovery of that island which is now of such importance to the British Empire. Fifty dollars was what a discovery of that kind was worth in the eyes of Henry VII.
Then again we have colonization by conquest, when his seamen met the foes of Britain upon the high seas, and the contest for the supremacy of the sea began. Those of you who have had the privilege, as I have had, of visiting the cell where Sir Walter Raleigh was incarcerated in the Tower of London, have seen his etchings upon the glass. You have doubtless read much about him, and though he dreamed dreams he was no visionary in the sense in which we understand the word. He saw that the nation which could obtain the supremacy of the high seas was bound to capture the trade of the world, and by capturing the trade of the world could practically become the ruler of the world. We are members of that great country which has fought and won the battles for the seas, and the results are beyond even the dreams of Raleigh.
Then we come to another period in the development of Imperialism and that is the growth of the Empire. I
ask you what is the Empire? From what standpoint do you view it? I will take Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India, -those which we call now practically self-supporting nations. The others are dependencies, but Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand are self-governing nations, all belonging to John Bull's great family. That is the Imperial part of the question I propose to discuss—that we are a big family. We are a family to-day containing 405,000,000 of people, proud of seeing the old Union Jack wave over this mighty Empire. (Applause) These are what are called the Dominions , beyond the Seas. They have attained to nationhood. They have all the rights and privileges of a nation bound together by one King, one Empire, one Navy, one Flag, and one People, running through the length and breadth of this great Empire of which I am giving you a small picture at the present time. When Great Britain lost the United States many a one thought they saw the New Zealander on London Bridge, as he has been portrayed. But they forgot that Dampier and later Captain Cook had explored that island continent in the southern seas, Australia, now a British nation growing up full of Imperial instincts, far ahead of us in showing her love for the Empire by the magnificent contribution she has made for the sustaining of the Mother Land and of this Empire upon the high seas. (Hear, hear)
Then we have New Zealand, North and South, as large as the British Islands themselves. They, also, are animated by the same feeling as we. In South Africa, the battle was between two flags—the Union Jack or the flag of the Boer. The Union Jack won the day, and now you have a United South Africa as the result of it.
In passing allow me to say if there is one thing that Canada can be justly proud of, it is that she is the mother of the confederation principle. She worked it out and applied it. It is different from the confederation of the United States, where they have not as yet responsible government in the sense that we Britishers understand it in Canada, and Australia and South Africa have been following in our footsteps.
Look at India. Warren Hastings laid the only true and sure foundation for the government of India. And what was that? The placing of a British officer in every district of India. The native princes who rule in India and are superintended and directed by the British Government, are willing to collect money out of their own pockets as a contribution towards the supremacy and defence of this great Empire. What a noble compliment it is for these people to come forward at this juncture in the history of the Empire and to indicate, as they have done, their willingness to do all that lies in their power for the building up of the Empire. And so it should be with Canada, and so, I believe, it is with Canada. I would not treat this subject from a political party standpoint on any consideration. Nothing is further removed from my mind than to speak in any party spirit of Canada's duty towards the upbuilding and the maintenance of this great Empire.
I am glad to see a gentleman from the city of Quebec to whom I had the pleasure of being introduced. I venture to tell my respected friend that if there are any persons in Canada who more than others should uphold the Empire as it is to-day and as it will continue to be in the future, it is our French Canadian fellow-citizens. (Hear, hear) They are descendants of the old heroic stock, the Norman French who took England from the Saxon. To the Norman French we are indebted for many of our privileges; and we say to you, their descendants, with their hereditary instincts and their blood flowing through your veins, enjoying a freedom of thought, speech, and government such as they never had, we ask you, I say, to aid, defend, and uphold the mightiest institution that any nation has ever erected on the pages of history. British Canadian and French Canadian, we must be prepared to shed the last drop of blood in our veins and to spend the last dollar of money in our pockets in order to uphold and defend Great Britain as the supreme mistress of the seas. (Hear, hear)
You will remember when you went to school that you had to commit to memory:
Britannia needs no bulwark,
No towers along the steep;
Her home is on the deep.
And so it has been. Sailor and soldier and merchant, those that have welded together this great Empire, are bound to defend it. When I say that the population of the British Empire to-day is 405,000,000 of people we must remember that 344,000,000 of them belong to the coloured races. There are only 61,000,000, belonging to the white race, in the temperate zones, the fit abiding places of the white man. The tropics are not agreeable to the white man; he does not settle there for any length of time. So you have all the advantages in the north and in the temperate zones for building up a race of men, genuine men.
Now, let me ask you as members of this Empire Club to go forward in the great work you have undertaken of forming public opinion, and in doing whatever you can to increase the commercial development of the Empire. I take it that this Club, and every other Club, as well as every person who says that he is an Imperialist, is not running around looking for somebody to slay on behalf of the Union Jack. There is something broader than that. We want an Empire built upon the solid foundation of liberty and justice-liberty to all, justice to all, within the proper bounds of a civilized community; and where this is carried out, there should be no danger of the Empire ever failing. I do not think it is required to have either dreams or visions about the future of the Empire beyond the steady discharging of our duty. Now is the accepted time; now is the time when we should go forward like men and defend, not only our coast line, but aid in maintaining this great Empire as the supreme mistress of the seas.
The wireless telegraph, the submarine cables, the great Atlantic and Pacific lines of steamships, are all the result of British enterprise and of British wealth, and to-day in every corner of the world, as the sun rises, all are able through these instrumentalities to bid each other “goodmorning.” It is something to be proud of, a proper