C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
We are here a nation, composed of the most heterogeneous elementsProtestants and Catholics, English, French, German, Irish, Scotch, every one, let it be remembered, with his traditions, with his prejudices. In each of these conflicting antagonistic elements, however, there is a common spot of patriotism, and the only true policy is that which reaches that common patriotism and makes it vibrate in all toward common ends and common aspirations.
One hundred years have passed away since the conquest of Quebec, but here we sit, the children of the victor and the vanquished, all avowing hearty attachment to the British crown, all earnestly deliberating how we shall best extend the blessings of British institutions; how a great people may be established on this continent, in close and hearty connection with Great Britain. Where, sir, in the page of history, shall we find a parallel to this? Will it not stand as an imperishable monument to the generosity of British rule? And it is not in Canada alone that this scene has been witnessed. Four other colonies are at this moment occupied as we aredeclaring their hearty love for the parent state, and deliberating with us how they may best discharge the great duty entrusted to their hands, and give their aid in developing the teeming resources of these vast possessions.
We should strengthen the faith of our people in their own future, the faith of every Canadian in Canada, and of every province in its sister province. This faith wrongs no one; burdens no one; menaces no one; dishonors no one; and, as it was said of old, faith moves mountains, so I venture reverently to express my own belief that if the difficulties of our future as a dominion were as high as the peaks of the Alps or Andes, yet that the pure patriotic faith of a united people would be all sufficient to overcome and ultimately to triumph over all such difficulties.
Other countries have seen their territories enlarged and their destinies determined by trouble and war, but no blood has stained the bonds which have knit together your free and order-loving populations, and yet in this brief period, so brief in the life of a nation, you have attained to a union whose characteristics from sea to sea are the same. A judicature above suspicion, a strong central government to direct all national interests, the toleration of all faiths with favor to none, a franchise recognizing the rights of labor by the exclusion only of the idler, a government ever susceptible to the change of public opinion and ever open, through a responsible ministry, to the scrutiny of the peoplethese are the features of your rising power.
He must have a dull and sluggish soul who can look without emotion on the quiet graves of the early settlers of this country, who can tread upon their moldering bones without a thought of their privations and their toils, who can, from their tombs, look out upon the rural lovelinessthe fruitfulness and peace by which he is surrounded, nor drop a tear to the memories of the dead, who won, by the stoutness of their hearts, and the sweat of their brows, the blessings their children have only to cherish and enjoy.
Why should not these three great branches of the family flourish, under different systems of government, it may be, but forming one grand whole, proud of a common origin and of their advanced civilization? The clover lifts its trefoil leaves to the evening dew, yet they draw their nourishment from a single stem. Thus distinct, and yet united, let us live and flourish. Why should we not? For nearly two thousand years we were one family. Our fathers fought side by side at Hastings, and heard the curfew toll. They fought in the same ranks for the sepulchre of our Saviour. In the earlier and later civil wars, we can wear our white and red roses without a blush, and glory in the principles those conflicts established. Our common ancestors won the great charter and the bill of rightsestablished free parliaments, the habeas corpus, and trial by jury. Our jurisprudence comes down from Coke and Mansfield to Marshall and Story, rich in knowledge and experience which no man can divide. From Chaucer to Shakespeare our literature is a common inheritance. Tennyson and Longfellow write in one language, which is enriched by the genius developed on either side of the Atlantic. In the great navigators from Cortereal to Hudson, and in all their moving accidents by flood and field we have a common interest.
What can we say as to our future? What of our destiny? Our destiny under a kind Providence will be just what we will make it. It rests in our own hands. We may in the face of all our advantages mar it if we will. As it is with individual destiny, so is it with national destiny; we are largely the architects of our own fortunes. We have laid, as I have shown, deep and safe and broad foundations for a bright future. What country can show legislation more advanced or leading up to better results than ours? In what land do we find a people enjoying more fully than we do the rights of self-government, or where is there a people more fitted to be entrusted with that precious right? Our laws have been well administered. Our courts of justice have won the unlimited confidence of the people. Imbued with the healthy sentiment which has prevailed in the mother land for centuries, attached to her forms of government, cherishing her precedents and traditions, we have passed from childhood to youth. We are approaching manhood, and its strength and vigor must depend upon ourselves. What is needed, then? We must appease interprovincial jealousies; we must modify mere local patriotism; we must cultivate an increased national feeling and show in every way we can that we have crossed the line of youth and pupilage.