« PreviousContinue »
pride, that we in Canada are members of this great Empire, and that every true Canadian–I do not care where he comes from—is an Imperialist, is a man whom we welcome as a brother:
The great and brave of any land,
I thank you for giving me the opportunity of meeting this Empire Club. Your President says we should give no uncertain sound as to where we stand on the principle of Imperialism, according to every man the full measure of liberty that we enjoy, ourselves, acknowledging him as a British subject as we are ourselves; and if we do this, and if we succeed in aiding Imperialism through this method that you have adopted—and a very wise one it is—then I say that we have no reason to fear as to the future of the Empire, because I believe that it is destined to be the great commercial agency of the future, to become, still further, in the hands of an All-wise Providence, a medium by which man can attain to his ideal humanity in its broadest sense.
THE WORK OF THE UNIVERSITIES
OF THE EMPIRE
An Address by Dr. R. A. FALCONER, LL.D., President of the University of Toronto, before the Empire Club of Canada, on January 9, 1913 Mr. President and Gentlemen,
This is the second, or possibly the third occasion on which I have spoken to the Empire Club, and I afraid that I cannot just remember what I spoke upon in the past. However, there will not be much danger of going over the old ground in taking up the subject that I have ventured to submit for your consideration this afternoon.
Last summer there was a very important gathering held in London,—in July—and I thought that some of the impressions that one received from this gathering might be of interest to the members of the Empire Club. This gathering was the Congress of the Universities of the Empire, the second of the kind that has been held, the first having taken place some eight or nine years before. The first was not only a new affair but it was comparatively unimportant, or it did not appeal to the imagination of the educated world; but I cannot say that of the last Congress that was held. It was prepared for with the greatest of care; over two years' work was put upon the outline of its conduct. The University of London, supported by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and afterwards by the other universities of Great Britain, threw themselves into the matter, provided liberally for it, prepared an agenda paper which was drawn up only after the most careful attention and consultation with the universities all over the Empire, and finally made arrangements not only for the conduct of the Congress itself, but for a visit to the other universities of Britain ; indeed nothing had been left undone to make the Congress a success. So important was it regarded as being, or likely to be, that the Secretary, Dr. R. D. Roberts, a distinguished geologist and extension lecturer in Britain, was sent out a year before the Congress was held, to meet the Canadian Universities, and we had a gathering in Montreal of the Universities and Colleges of the Dominion, at which our opinions were taken, and Dr. Roberts, after visiting us, returned to Britain to put these into effect. Unfortunately he was very suddenly cut off, and another Secretary, Dr. Hill, had to take his place. However, although there was a great loss on that account, the Congress was carried through in a wonderfully effective manner.
That it was very important may be proved, I think, by the type of men who showed an interest in it. The Government gave a lui eon to the delegates on their first arrival, in the Savoy Hotel, and that luncheon was attended by a large number of the Cabinet, and of distinguished gentlemen in public life in Britain. The address of welcome was given by His Royal Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught, and the formal address by the Secretary for the Colonies, Right Honourable Mr. Harcourt, and a very brilliant address it was. The morning gatherings were presided over by the Chancellors of the different Universities, the opening session by Lord Rosebery, the second session by Lord Curzon, the third session by Mr. Balfour, the fourth by Lord Rayleigh, the fifth was to have been presided over by Lord Haldane but he was called away suddenly to sit in the Privy Council, the sixth by Lord Strathcona; and these men evidently put a good deal of thought on what they said to the Congress. I may be permitted to quote one sentence from the opening remarks of Lord Rosebery to show the importance in his judgment of the meeting. He says, “I very much doubt whether among all the Congresses that have met in London there is any which in reality is so vitally important, so striking in its nature, making so great an appeal to the imagination of every British subject, as that which meets here to-day. Is not this, after all, the best kind of Empire, that of co-operation in high and noble tasks with the common sympathy, affection, and energy which would characterize the members of an immense family?” The fact that Lord Rosebery, who is not given to over-statement, made a remark of this kind in his opening address is a proof that this gathering was held by men of thought and influence to indicate an important step in the development of the Imperial idea.
The composition of the Congress was itself a proof that there is something in the Empire which has possibly not yet come to the surface, something of intellectual growth and development that before long must strike the imagination of the imperially-minded Briton. Fifty years ago the number of universities that might have met together would have been very small. Last July there were fifty-three represented; every university of the Empire had its delegate. Of those fifty-three Canada had eighteen, a large proportion. (Applause) Now I think personally that, gratifying as numbers are, the intellectual and educational health of the Dominion might have been rather better indicated by a smaller number than eighteen. I am afraid that in some instances we have dissipated our energies in the Dominion, and I rather think that if the good example set by the University of Toronto in the way of federation had been followed in some other districts, particularly in the old provinces from which I come, the intellectual and educational outlook would be better. However, I am not going to quarrel with numbers when numbers really count as they do in a Congress. And Canada stood well to the forefront. I think even more impressive than numbers is the fact that the new Dominion is developing, at once, so strongly and healthfully in the lines of this higher education. At once with the coming of the new provinces there has come this demand for higher education. There is, of course, the University of Manitoba, an old university and one of those that needs strengthening and tightening up—I think that all in Manitoba admit that themselves. Then there is Saskatchewan, which has laid its lines very broadly and satisfactorily, and has a splendid outlook. Almost the same can be said of Alberta. There is also British Columbia that has set aside what is said by some to be the finest site in the world for a university, together with two million acres as an endowment, and the government of that province is using every effort to get this university started on right lines. These facts appealed to the Congress, more, probably, than the numbers.
But this movement is not confined, of course, to Canada, although I suppose that proportionately Canada would stand well up with almost any country in the matter of university education and attendance. But Australia also is putting forth every effort, and they have their state universities well-equipped and well-endowed, running on different lines from ours. There is also a University at the Cape with its various Colleges; there is the University of New Zealand with its four Colleges ; there is the University of Hong Kong, of which Sir Frederick Lugard was the father-a prominent member of the Congress and at present Governor of Nigeria. Last comes the small University of Malta of which I know very little. When we come to Britain of course we are on familiar ground, and I do not intend to detain you this afternoon speaking of what you know. I want, however, for the short time at my disposal, to divide what I have to say into two portions, first, to give a few impressions of the work of the Congress itself in London, and then, of what one saw at the universities outside.
The work of the Congress was divided into two main divisions ; one was the relation of the universities, the one to the other, and the second was the relation of the university to its staff, students, and graduates. The first point to consider was how the universities of the Empire may in any way be co-ordinated, whether it is possible to bring them into closer relations, so that the work and the advantages of the one may be shared with others that may have other strong points or that may be weak all round. Secondly, there was a good deal of discussion as to the function of the universities; what are we to look for in each university ? From the outset it was laid down as an axiom that we must not set before ourselves the aim of anything like uniform standardization, that there must be no attempt to bring the different universities into line, so that the one university is to become