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is a short cut to the blessings of preference and reciprocity and buying and selling within the Empire. There is a very short cut if you will only try it. You may try to persuade the British people to pass tariffs, or you may never persuade them, but there is one thing we can all do in Britain and Canada and Australia and South Africa and New Zealand, and we need not wait for an Act of Parliament to compel us, we can in our own daily purchases across the shop counters of the world have preference and have reciprocity, and are we of that stuff that we have got to compel ourselves to do it? (Applause) That is why I believe in an Empire trade mark-a mark showing outside, made in the British Empire, made in Canada, or Australia, or New Zealand, or British South Africa, and then inside the trade mark of the individual firm whose production it is. I am a fiscal heretic here; but always, when in Australia, I pay twice as much for an Australian article as for an English one; I can afford it. It is a grand thing to be patriotic when you can afford it; but I say give a preference, first to the village in which you live; next, to your Province; next, to your Dominion; and next, to the Old Country. Let us put it wider; next, to the rest of the British Empire. I do hope that politicians can be relieved of the everlasting agitation for reciprocity and preference for the whole of the loyal British units of the Empire.
It takes two years to build a battleship. I don't know how many years you have been talking about it. (Laughter) It takes two years to build one after you flash the order across the seas, and if I were a citizen of Canada instead of a stranger, I tell you what I would like to see done as a loyal Canadian, as a lover of my race and of my Empire, and as a man who sees the storm signals in the sky. I will tell you what I would do. I would flash an order that would thrill the world and arouse every Britisher wherever he is, an order for several battleships, and during the two years they were building, I would find out where I was going to put them. (Loud applause)
There is one thing that I admire more than another about the people of the British Isles—and mind you we Canadians and Australians can say something for the people of the Mother Land which they cannot well say for themselves. Did you ever see a grander spectacle of generosity, self respect, and justifiable pride than the people of Great Britain display, staggering under the weight of this gigantic Empire? Do they come to you
(Voices—No, no) Do they come to Australia for help? No. They despise an appeal to your charity. If help is to come to them, it must come from the sons of the old home who want to stand by the blood that runs in the veins of Britishers and Canadians. (Applause)
I won't refer to what we in Australia have done. We are only twelve years old as a federation. I believe you are forty-five. I won't dwell upon what we have done. I think you know what it is. We may be right or wrong in having our ships as an Australian fleet unit. You are much nearer England. If you had your ships in your own waters, and if young Canadians were called on to listen to that call of the sea which is in the blood and has made us what we are—but it is not for me to decide your action, that is for you. What I want to say is this, I know the people of Canada well enough to believe that once they see the gravity of the situation, they will act with a spirit worthy of their own high character. You know these great young countries have passed through the periods of infancy and childhood. The people in the old land have stood by the cradle, they have stood by our years of youth. They have protected us, and they have given us these magnificent lands to begin with. They have given us that right to manage our own affairs which was born in England centuries ago. They have treated us in a way that no Imperial power
treated weaker dependency. We have heard some talk of Rome, as if the destiny of Great Britain were to describe a decline like the decline and fall of Rome; but I would like to point this out, that the power of Rome was founded upon oppression, upon the trampling down of conquered races. The highest ideal of an Imperial triumph in the days of Rome was to drag the conquered chieftains at the chariot
wheels to be exposed to the jibes and sneers of the populace in the streets. That is not the spirit in which the British Empire rules. If a referendum were taken in any part of the British Dominions to-morrow, whether the people there would rather belong to Great Britain or some other power, you know that right through the Empire one universal reply would come. We may want this or we may want that from the British Government, but we don't want to change our flag.
Will you pardon me for having taken up so much of your time. There is one most important point which I ask you to allow me to refer to. The Ministers of Canada have recently visited, as you know, the Mother Country. I had the privilege of being in England at the time they were there, and I cannot express to you fully the magnificent reception which the Canadian Ministers received. I cannot adequately express to you the favourable impression which they made in the hour of their triumph. But also I cannot forget Sir Wilfrid Laurier. I think in public life we are too apt to forget the old public servants. I had the honour of being associated with him, and I say Canada is happy in having such a Prime Minister as Mr. Borden, and she is happy in having another great leader, Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
The Ministers attracted great attention by suggestions as to a change, a radical change, in the constitution of the British Empire. Well, it will take years to make a change, if a change is advisable, and I know that it is too serious a task to be rushed. The object is to promote the harmony and the strength of the British Empire. I wait, with due respect, for the revelation of the more than mortal wisdom which will be displayed when soine of our friends submit a scheme for a new Imperial Parliament for our kind consideration. Let us remember what the British Empire is. Canada is not the British Empire, Australia is not the British Empire, Great Britain is not the British Empire, nor New Zealand, nor the British in South Africa. When you have counted them all you are three hundred and sixty million short of the people who with you constitute the British Empire. When you re-cast your Parliament, a truly Imperial Parliament, is there to be no one there to represent the interests of these three hundred and sixty million of His Majesty's subjects? Are we who, for good reasons, are anxious to preserve our racial integrity, to discourage the millions of India from coming here or coming to Australia ? Would we sit happily in an Imperial Parliament dealing with them, dealing with their concerns?
Then, if it is to be a Parliament it will soon have party fights. One of the grandest things about these dependencies is that we are so busy quarrelling among ourselves that we have no time to abuse the Mother Country. Your Federal Parliament is the safety valve for the Empire. I don't know what the Imperial Parliament would be like. I hope some day some grand devices will be arrived at. You know the people over the borderI don't know how many years ago—were taxed by the British Parliament in a way which they did not like, with results which we did not like. Let us suppose that in the Imperial Parliament you have sixty members, one for each million of the British race. You would have six, or seven, or eight; we would have four or five. Supposing the six or seven were enamoured with a system of taxation which might not perhaps commend itself to Australia, and suppose the five Australians, with the whole Australian people behind them, were strongly opposed to that system, would it promote the harmony of the British Empire, if the Imperial tax-gatherer enforced upon Australia that tax? Would not we get dangerously near the disasters from which the Empire has already escaped ? I have only mentioned these little things; these are the little conundrums I want you to consider.
You know in the heavens, where there are no Acts of Parliament, you see from age to age majestic orbs revolving around the central sun peacefully, harmoniously, each describing its own appointed orbit with marvellous certainty. I cannot say what the law of gravitation is, which binds us in the Imperial Governments to the central sun, the British Nation, and I cannot very well say what it is that makes this marvellous peace and order among all these nations and races and creeds and countries; but I can not help recalling that one of the American poets said something about hitching a wagon to a star! If you could do it, I would like you to tell me what would become of the wagon. Now, if some one can describe a system by which, when these majestic orbs of the British Empire are all together, they will be more harmonious and more devoted to each other than they now are, I will give them my apostolic blessing. But, whilst we are prepared to listen to the proposals of high and patriotic men of great intelligence who think we can do better in the future for the Empire, do not let us forget the pressing necessities of to-day. Do not let us forget that first we have to maintain intact this Empire before we can reform its political constitution, and I feel sure that just as the children of the old home in distant Australia have loyally and generously responded, not to the begging petition of the parent, but to their own sense of right and filial affection in what they have done, so this great people of Canada will show to the world that they are determined to stand, as they always have, the darker the clouds the more firmly determined to stand, shoulder to shoulder when the King calls. (Applause)