Page images

other we can meet all our own needs and be independent of other lands, if we realize that these vast possessions of ours, this mighty growing trade that we possess, are all capable of destruction if our power of self-defence be not efficient and sufficient, then I think it will be admitted that I have not been guilty of mis-statement or exaggeration when I declare that these two great questions of Imperial defence and Imperial trade are closely knit together, are inter-dependent, are one. Every patriotic citizen will do his best to grapple with these questions and to understand them, and once they are understood, once they are fully comprehended, I, at least, have no doubt whatever as to the answer that my countrymen will make wherever they may be found in all parts of the inhabited world. (Applause)

Gentlemen, I know your excellent rule, and I am not going to offend against it to-day. Indeed I think it is one of the best rules that I have ever come across in the many institutions with which I have been acquainted during my life. You entertain your guests, you give them an opportunity in circumstances encouraging and inspiring to express their views, and if by some blunder of phrase or stupidity of sentence they offend against your susceptibilities you may rend them in private afterwards, but you receive them with courtesy at the time, and let them remain forever in ignorance of the fact that they have offended. I do not think I can have said anything that would offend the susceptibilities of the tenderest-minded politician among you, (hear, hear) but do not let me be misunderstood. Do not think, I beg of you, that these last words of mine are intended to be an apology. I have no apology to make for the language that I have used. I say that any man who is unwilling to consider these problems, any man who is unwilling to bear his share of this great Imperial burden is one for whom in these days of stress and trial we can have no use. In the British Empire there is room for all; in the British Empire there is yet opportunity for great development and for increasing prosperity, but there is no room within it for those who would consume the honey while they are unwilling to do their share of

the work in the hive. (Applause) We have got to be constant in our labour; we have got to be persistent and proud in the discharge of our Imperial duties. What happens to-day is of little moment in your life or mine. What you and I do to-day, say, think, or perform, will very soon pass into oblivion, but one thing will remain above all others, and the historian of the future will have to answer the question—these men succeeded to a mighty heritage, what did they do with it? This is the question that you and I some time, when we turn our faces to the wall, will have to answer to ourselves. It is the question which the historian will ask of us, and for our own peace of mind, for our own credit, let our answer be one of which we shall be proud and which the historian will record with pride and gratitude, meaning, as it will, that we not only succeeded to a mighty possession, but that we have been trustees faithful and true to the end. (Applause)


An Address by the HONOURABLE WILLIAM RENWICK RIDDELL, L.H.D., LL.D., Justice, King's Bench Division, High Court of Justice, Ontario, before the Empire Club, on October 23, 1912.

Mr. President and Gentlemen,

To those who, with me, believe the fact that Canada is British to be of the utmost importance, particularly for the future of the English-speaking world, the inquiry why and how she is so, will prove of absorbing interest.

No doubt, any conclusion arrived at as to the result had the actors in history or their circumstances been different, must be more or less conjectural-still I shall venture to give you my views as to the underlying causes of this miracle of the centuries.

In the occurrences which took place and the result, many will see the working of an over-ruling Providence -and even those who see but blind chance will be compelled to admit the marvel of the history.

What fixed the destiny of Canada was the difference between her people and the people to the south of her.

Why the English adventurers, after they had discovered Newfoundland and Labrador, left to the French all the valuable and enticing lands on either side of the St. Lawrence River and Gulf, will never, perhaps, be fully explained.

But we do know that after the second voyage—in 1517 -of the Cabots, when they got as far north as the mouth of the Hudson Straits in their search for a route to India and Cipango, the English in great measure confined their attention to the Atlantic Coast which, indeed, the Cabots had already explored from Cape Breton to South Carolina. They selected what is now the territory of the United States for settlement, leaving to Spain and Portugal the land further south, to France that further north. Cortez conquered Mexico, Balboa crossed pean State.

the Isthmus to Panama, Pizarro followed him and subdued Peru, Cabral discovered Brazil, and the Portuguese settled there in the first permanent colony of any Euro

The English privateers and buccaneers harried the Spanish and Portuguese, robbed and murdered, but did not attempt to occupy their territory by permanent settlers.

So to the north Frobisher and Davis, Baffin, Fox, , and James risked their lives in the attempt to find a North-West passage; but they neither were seeking immediate profit in gold or gems nor a favourable spot for settlement, but the way to markets for English manufactures—and incidentally the glory of the English flag.

Raleigh and Grenville took possession of Virginia toward the end of the 16th century; Massachusetts was chartered in 1629, and Boston founded the following year; Connecticut was settled a few years later (in 1633), and Maryland at the same time; Pennsylvania in 1680. With the exception of Lord Baltimore's settlement in Maryland, these were strongly Protestant communities, and all without exception were English in feeling and sentiment.

But all this time the French were building up a strong French and Catholic colony in what is now Quebec—a colony as different as possible from those to the south. And both the strength and the difference were needed against the time of the great division of the Englishspeaking peoples.

The French were not allowed to trespass upon the territory which the English had fixed upon as their own.

In 1613 Saussaye led a French expedition which intended to make a settlement to the south of territory already reduced into their possession.

heir possession. They made their way to Mount Desert in Maine, and there founded a colony, St. Sauveur, at what is still called Frenchman's Bay. But even when building their first cabins and turning the first sod, they were set upon by Samuel Argall, half hero and half pirate, who had been sent north from Virginia to clear the coast of intruders. The French ship was destroyed, the settlement laid waste, and while some of the settlers were taken by the English Captain in chains to Virginia, fifteen were set adrift upon the wild Atlantic in an open boat. St. Croix and Port Royal were also pillaged and destroyed, and when Argall was on his way home, the Dutchmen who had settled in Manhattan were warned by him to consider themselves subjects of the King of England. They hauled down the Dutch flag and spread the English colours to the breeze -till he got out of sight.

A little later the ambition or the injured vanity of a royal favourite brought on a war which threatened to make Canada English before its time. Urged by George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, Charles I made war on France. Some say that, deputed to bring the young Queen Henrietta Maria to England, Buckingham had made himself conspicuous by his splendour, even going so far as to make love to the Queen of France. He was repulsed, and it is said he then threw all his influence in favour of war.

Although Bluff King Hal, Henry VIII, had founded the English navy, at this time there were few royal ships; but a Company of Merchant Adventurers was formed in London by private persons to seize French and Spanish ships, and that Company obtained a patent from Charles I to establish plantations on the shores of the River St. Lawrence. The Company fitted out a fleet of three ships of war and placed it under the command of David Kirke, who sailed for the St. Lawrence in 1628.

In the summer of 1629, the Englishmen appeared before Quebec. The gallant Champlain, then in command, had but little ammunition, less provisions, and a garrison of only a few half-starved men. He could do nothing but surrender.

Quebec-and that implied Canada-remained English for only three years. Champlain did not cease urging the French Court to demand back his beloved Nouvelle France, and Cardinal Richelieu no doubt felt that by the loss of the American colony France had lost prestige. Accordingly, when the terms of the treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye came to be discussed, the restoration of Canada was insisted upon. Charles yielded for a reason

« PreviousContinue »