Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

of our prospects. Only within the last ten years have we emerged from the shade of the poor relation-the poor relation of Britain and of the United States.

[ocr errors]

I had written so far when the dissolution of Parliament immersed me in the campaign, which produced the best affirmation of pro-Canadian, pro-British Imperialism that this century has afforded. The result intensifies but does not in any way change the ideas which dictated this article. The election makes it neither more nor less necessary for Britain to understand afresh the fundamentals of her relationship with Canada.

A little while ago, then, we were regarded as the poor relation of Britain and of the United States. Now we are courted by both. The spectacle of a President of the United States going through his country beseeching the people to make a bargain with us-a bargain such as they had of old time repeatedly refused to make-and of Canada declining to endorse the bargain, is the most striking proof that Canada understands that Canada has' arrived.'

Pride in ourselves is not quite so high and rotund as the pride which makes our neighbour yell ‘Gopher! Gopher! Gopher State !! But it is more youthful in kind and degree than the pride with which a venerable mayor produces, for his trans-Atlantic visitors, a civic sword of the thirteenth century, and a parchment signed with the indubitable ink of William Rufus. We may not have much of a history, but we have a most uncompromising hope for the future. And we know that there is this mighty difference between History and Hope-History is what the other fellow did long before you were born ; Hope is that which you can do yourself-yourself to-morrow.

We have built--with borrowed money, of course---a mile of railway for every 360 people in this country. We have created thousands of villages and towns where, when our young men were children, there were only Indians and buffalo, waving grass and whirling snow. People are coming to us from the corners of the earth. We are developing a genius for forgetting the things that are behind.

Into this atmosphere have come, within the last few years, 500.000 Britishers and 500.000 Americans. The Americans swarm in the West. They are accustomed to the major conditions of that territory. Indeed, they have shown us more about our own prairie country than we had found out for ourselves. It is something of an exercise to keep up with them. I was once driving across Alberta' with a great railway chief, when we met a prairie schooner-a hooded wagon full of settler's effects, on the way to a lone homestead. That's the kind of fellow I like to see,' said the railway chief; 'worth half-a-dozen of your Old Countrymen.'

Accept it for the truth, the simple, solemn truth, that the average American who comes to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta is far better equipped to conquer the conditions of pioneer settlement than the average Britisher is, and you are at the beginning of wisdom-a hard, unexpected beginning-but the beginning all the same.

The difference between the two is the difference between dissimilar countries. It is not a' fundamentally formidable difference. The only thing that could make it formidable would be a British determination to continue it. Individuals who have tried have come to grief, and sometimes, happily, to salvation. The Britisher's salvation in Canada depends on his capacity for being born again. It is not always a happy travail. The sting of it may be prevented if the right gospel is preached at the right place. And the right place for the Imperial Canadian gospel is where the Imperial emigrant begins his pilgrimage.

Curiously enough, too, the Gospel of Emigration should first be preached to those who will never emigrate, for the double reason that they may pass it on to succeeding groups of emigrants, and that they may become the leaven through which Britain herself may master the lessons of the Emigrant Returned that are almost concealed under the silk hats and frockcoats of members of the Imperial Conference.

Emigration is more than a riddance of surplus population. Millions of good British people have gone to strengthen the industrial rivalry of the United States. The movement of that class of Britisher to Canada should be carefully regarded as a scientific transference of citizens from one part of the Imperial estate to another, in the permanent interests of both.

There is that scattereth and yet increaseth.' But how? Begin by spreading the kind of knowledge that I have tried to set forth in these pages—that a change inevitably comes over the Britisher who goes to Greater Britain, and that so far as that change is for the better it will be well to consider whether, in some vital measure, it cannot be utilised as lea'ven in Britain for the good of those who will join the emigrating host, and also of those who will remain.

Earl Grey signalised his return to England by prophesying that Ca'nada will become the dominant factor in the Empire. He was talking common sense, as well as prophecy. It was another way of enforcing my point about the Emigrant Returned. If you want the emigrant to come back, you must send him out right.

'What did the Old Country ever do for me? 'was the reiterated question on which a promising English County Association in Toronto went to pieces a few years ago. It is a fond delusion of many hyper-Imperialists that all the people in Canada regard the Old Country pretty much the same as the children in the parish school regard Lady Bountiful. It is not so. Mr. Balfour talks of our children 'a'cross the seas. It is a true saying, but a delusive way of stating the truth. Henceforth, call us not children but partners, whose partnership deeds can be cancelled by the junior parties to them.

That adult quality of partnership has its expression in the individual emigrant. Recognise the certainty of its advent, and provide against it before he leaves the Old Land, and the problem of permanent attachment to the Empire is solved. Begin by admitting that the youngsters and the yokels whom you know to be so fearfully limited in their native environment, will begin to expand in knowledge, wealth and power as soon as they leave your shores, and you will not find it impossible to convey some of that idea to them before they leave. Presently the County Council will issue historical literature that it is good for every child of the county to know, and every emigrant from the county to carry across the ocean.

That will start you upon an inquiry as to what your county, your parish, has contributed to the creation of Greater Britain. You will be astonished at the wealth of unsuspected local patriotism you will uncover. Why is it that there is a place in Nova Scotia, in Ontario, in Alberta, named after your village, your town, and you have never heard of it? Why cannot you get in touch with it, find out, if you can, who planted the familiar name beyond the reach of your eye?

Lately I read of the gift of stone saddle-steps to the town of Hingham, Massachusetts, by the village of Hingham, Norfolk. What's in a name? In this case a block of stone. In the case of Canadian-British names, infinitely more, for we are members of the same body. A Chatham man told me recently that he almost decided when he came to Canada to go to Chatham, Ontario, because of the associations of his native town. They say there is no sentiment in five per cent. But there is plenty of sentiment in emigration, and five per cent. as well.

When you examine this problem of Imperial emigration you discover a singularly interesting exposition of the power and impotence of governmental machinery, and of the impotence and power of private effort. And you will be impelled to find a way of increasing the power and minimising the impotence.

There is an Emigration Department of the Imperial Government that is no doubt better than it seems. A few perfunctory circulars displaved in post offices and such like places exhibit very little of the five per cent. or the sentiment of emigration. My memory recalls an expeditionary inquiry as to the possibility of emigration to Canada under Local Government Board auspices. The defect in what was said, as it would have been a defect in anything that might have been done, was an incomplete understanding of the requirements of the territory wherein it was expected to distribute the Old Land's burden.

The notion that Canada is a vast wilderness in which difficult cases may be turned loose with impunity must be supplanted by the knowledge that it is organised, discriminating communities that are looking for trusty citizens. If there is to be any extension of the intelligence of the Emigration Department at Westminster, it must be by way of a projection into its mind of the place to which the emigrant goes—a process that is just as important in Imperialism as the study of what the overseas customer likes to buy is essential to Imperial trade. It is not easy to harmonise the point of view of the Board of Guardians in Kent and the point of view of a Town Council in Saskatchewan, but it can be done if beed is taken of those who know the problems of the English parish as well as the requirements of the western plain.

Westminster might learn from Ottawa that a Government can enter the advertising business with as much skill as the proprietor of a brand of shoes does. The propaganda that was modernised and developed by Mr. Clifford Sifton, the ablest of all Sir Wilfrid Laurier's ministers, into the most remarkable advertising campaign in history, has some wonderfully effective features, which would shock the sedate tape-tied gentry of Whiteball. You cannot imagine the friendly letters given to emigrants by Mr. Obed Smith in London, for presentation to Mr. Bruce Walker in Winnipeg, being written by important officials of the Board of Trade. With its manifold shortcomings, the Canadian Government strikes a more intimately human note than the public instruments have discovered how to do in the Old World.

But the friendly Dominion can only travel so far in its service to emigration. It is limited by the fact that it may not buy for nor sell to the emigrant. A Government officer cannot say to a puzzled novitiate in pioneering, ‘Go to such a place; buy such a farm.'

Some other place would be offended. Hitherto the Government has not acted as the individual belper of the individual employer needing a servitor. It has recognised its limitation by making grants to worthy private institutions that do certain offices for those who otherwise might find it difficult to come together. In Toronto there is a wise, venerable Englishwoman whom the Government helps in a real ministry to domestic servants—a yearly grant-in-aid of private, social and economic service. Miss Fitzgibbon is a British asset, a Canadian asset. And there is not as much difference between Sir William Mackenzie, the President of the Canadian Northern Railway, and Miss Fitzgibbon, as there is between Sir William and Barkis.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Barkis was a common carrier of no special creative value, whose direct business with the State was limited to the licence which authorised him to collect fares for the accommodations of his vehicle. Sir William Mackenzie is a common carrier who has been aided vastly by the State because the State needed population in empty territory, and it could not expect population without roads to market. Sir William was an expert in building roads, and the State helped him by grants of money and guarantees of credit.

But there are other roads to increase of souls than rails of steel. There is the cradle route, via apron and cap. It is beset by

. dangers, and Miss Fitzgibbon has a way of avoiding them. So the Government aids her monetarily on a small scale, as it aids Sir William on a large scale. The underlying principle is the same. Rachel said, 'Give me children or I die.' The Canadian State says, 'Give me people so that I may meet my obligations.' The British State says, 'Give my people room, or they perish from overcrowding.'

The possibilities of grants-in-aid are not exhausted. If the principle is sound, be not afraid to enlarge its application within prudent limits. The Board of Guardians has found constructive ways of spending the poor rate that were hidden from the Board of the mid-Victorian time. One of the things which, when I was a guardian for a Kentish parish away back in the early eighteennineties, made me very willing to consider new ideas was the discovery in the cold region of accounts that it cost us eighteen shillings to conduct twenty shillings to the indigent poor. It is better to hand ten shillings to an aged couple in their own cot than it is to spend it on their sustenance in a big workhouse, and another ten shillings on the officialdom that waits on them. It is better to spend twenty pounds in transferring a healthy child, whom misfortune has put upon the rates, to the taintless opportunity of Canada, than it is to spend fifty pounds on keeping it another seven years in an institution from which it will emerge less favourably equipped for a less favourable opportunity than it would enjoy in the New Land.

I am not thinking merely of a more scientific application of public funds to public troubles by making it easier to dump m victims of misfortune into Canada. I only want to make the unquestionable point that, in the transference of people from one part of the Empire, where they are a great anxiety, to another part where they are a great asset, principles may be applied which have been in operation for the advantage of other and less vital branches of Imperial development--the subsidies to fast steamer services between Britain and the United States, for example, of which it may be truly said that they help to build up the trade of the United

[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »