« PreviousContinue »
that you can not help us it will make no difference to us; we will spend our last penny in taxation, because we realize that in this question is wrapped up our whole existence, our life, and we know that the fleet is our all in all. But although we are not praying to you for your help, at the same time we would suggest that those in Canada, far from the North Sea, who state that there is no danger and that this question is a bogey, are mistaken, and we would say that, in our opinion, we believe they are either blind to the fact or are the enemies of patriotism; and we do declare that our dangers are your dangers, (hear, hear) and that the fate of Quebec or Ontario is bound up just as much with the British Aleet as is the fate of Scotland or Wales on the other side of the Atlantic. I have seen it suggested in the newspapers since I have been on this side that armaments are no affairs of Canada; but, gentlemen, I suggest that it is impossible for you to develop the arts of peace and to build your great canals and railways unless you feel and know that you are sheltered under the wing of your fleet and our fleet, which alone makes your way secure. (Hear, hear)
We are told by certain gentlemen that the German peril is no peril, that it is a bogey. Personally I do not call it a peril, but I call it an actual fact. There is no particular hatred by the German people for the British nation, but there is a feeling which runs through every class of the German people that the destiny of the German nation is that she shall be Mistress of the Seas as well as the strongest military force upon land, and there is a feeling which will not down, and that is that the German people must expand. The same people who tell you in this country that the German question is a bogey immediately complete their perorations by telling you that Germany's only trouble is that she requires territory. They are answered by their own arguments. It is simply a question of expansion, and all I would suggest to those gentlemen is this, that if they believe it is a question of territory, who are the last people on the face of the earth that ought to take care to stand together, if it is not the British people who have the most sparsely populated lands on the face of the earth's surface? (Applause) I believe there is a general impression at home at the present time that there is only one way to stop this mad race for armaments, and that is that it shall be made perfectly clear that the fleet supremacy is not the affair of the little Islands in the North Sea alone, but that it is the affair of all the nations of the British people throughout the world who desire not only to have peace, freedom, and security, but who are determined to preserve these blessings and will pledge themselves in union to maintain them.
There is one more aspect of the naval question, and then I have finished. War at the present time is quite a different thing to what it was a few years ago. In August of last year we were undoubtedly right on the verge of war for several hours. In fact no one who knew anything about the situation could tell whether the morrow was going to bring peace or battle. Thank God that war was averted, as I believe, by the strength of the British Imperial Fleet. But supposing that what was so near had happened? Even supposing the British fleet had been victorious, naval experts will bear me out when I say, that if there is anything like an equality of fleets contending, even the victorious navy will lose from one quarter to one half of its effective fighting ships for future use. Therefore, even if we had come out of that struggle victorious, as I believe we should have done, the supremacy of the seas would have been taken from the British and would have been handed over to the United States, and that is, I say, a position which no man, even if he is more commercial than patriotic, would care to see,-if he really sees how absolutely inter-dependent are the questions of defence and trade in this year 1912. Therefore, whatever way we can look at it, as different members of a great family we must agree that it is better to trade with those who build dreadnoughts for us rather than with those who build dreadnoughts against us. (Applause) We have been led to understand that this great Dominion may shortly decide to share in the naval burden. If that is so, I can only tell you that it will arouse an affectionate response among
those who dwell on the other side of the Atlantic, an affectionate response of a value which no estimate, because it will be the love of a brother shown for a brother in a brotherly way, and I believe you will find that the feeling which will be expressed in the Mother Country will be worth much to you in this Great Dominion.
I had the great pleasure in the House of Commons of extracting from the First Lord of the Admiralty his first speech on naval defence of the Empire, that is to say from the point of view of Imperial co-operation, and I remember telling him on that occasion what I believed the Dominions were prepared to do if the British Government told the statesmen of the Dominions frankly what was the apparent situation and took them into its confidence in regard to foreign affairs; and I remember on that occasion I suggested that in a fiveyear programme I did not believe that the Canadian people would think it was unreasonable that they should contribute four dreadnought cruisers--extended over five years—and I remember making a similar suggestion in regard to the other Dominions. The First Lord of the Admiralty agreed with every word I said, including what I said with regard to the control. I said, if the Dominion of Canada, or any other Dominion, was going to give ships, we had arrived at the time when it must be absolutely understood that the Dominion must share in the control if they were going to contribute generously to the Imperial Fleet. He agreed, and in a forty minutes' reply his only criticism of what I said was that he feared the Honourable Gentleman was far too optimistic. Well, I hope that I was not much too optimistic, and I hope there may be something done in that direction. But one thing, do please, gentlemen, understand, and that is there is no man of any party at home who does not welcome the idea that those who contribute to the Imperial whole shall share in the control and take part in its direction. (Applause)
Now, in conclusion, may I say how extremely grateful I am to you for having given me this privilege. I can only tell you this, that the policy of Imperial union appeals to those who act with me in the Imperial mission, and indeed to every member of my party in Great Britain, with irresistible force. Some of us, I think, can truly say we have entered politics solely for this rea
We have dedicated our lives to this policy, and we intend to prosecute it fearlessly, believing that our cause is so good that it is absolutely irresistible. I can only say that my friends over seas would ask me to tell you that it is no flabby hand which we extend to you now. We appreciate the expressions of brotherhood and fraternity brought to us by Mr. Borden, and there is a response in every British heart over seas, and we will extend to you the steady grip of a brother whenever you decide to become one with us in this policy. I can only say that, in my opinion, if the election in the Old Country came to-morrow, you would find the majority of the men there ready to meet you and to do everything they could to establish a thorough union between the various parts of the Empire. I thank you, gentlemen. (Applause)
IMPERIAL TRADE AND IMPERIAL DEFENCE
An Address by the Right HONOURABLE Walter H. LONG, M.P., before the Empire Club of Canada, on September 26, 1912. Mr. President and Gentlemen,
I have to thank your Lordship for your kindly introduction of myself, and I have to thank you gentlemen for the warmth and the heartiness of your reception. I believe that his Lordship, in the few sentences in which he was good enough to commend me to you, said all that I could desire, all that any loyal citizen of this country could desire, to be said on his behalf, when he told you that I had set before me as the object of the speech which I have been called upon to make, the presentment to my fellow-citizens in this part of the Empire of what I conceive to be the great Imperial issues with which we are now faced. Before I proceed to say a few words to you on this great and most engrossing topic, will you forgive me, if I remark in passing, with what profound regret I learned on my arrival in Toronto this morning of the death of a most distinguished Canadian statesman, the late Sir Richard Cartwright. The political views which the late statesman held were those to which I have been all my life entirely opposed, but friend and foe meet over his grave remembering that he set for himself a high standard of public and private life, that he succeeded beyond measure in attaining to that standard, and to-day we all feel that Canada and the Empire are the richer in that he lived and are the poorer in that he has died. (Hear, hear)
Gentlemen, the name of your Club inspires one with the desire to say something that shall help on the objects for which it has been created. It is one of those topics which brings to the lips such a plethora of words that it is difficult to confine one's self to any reasonable limit