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Full text of "Canada first; or, Our new nationality; an address"

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Stbrarg 

KINGSTON, ONTARIO 



National Papers. No. t, 



There is an intellectual vivification, at last, in Canada, and 
there are indications that the native mind is at present awaken- 
ing from the lethargy which has hitherto shrouded and dwarfed 
it. This is expressed in many ways, and is most observable in 
the large reading constituency that exists in the country, in the 
influence which has given the impulse to the publishing and im- 
porting of the Book Trade, and in the recognized necessity for 
a Canadian magazine — a vehicle of native thought and culture. 

The present lecture, it is felt, will stimulate this to a further 
degree, and incite, it is hoped, a more hearty interest in Cana- 
dian affairs by the people of the country. 

The Publishers trust to be able to issue, periodically, in the 
series they now initiate, a succession of papers on subjects that 
will prove of national importance, and their object will be gained 
if it aid, even in a small degree, to promote a more ambitious 
and healthy native literature. 

THE PUBLISHERS. 

Toronto, August, 187 i. 



CANADA FIHST; 



OR, 



^ew Nationality; 



Our inew 



AN ADDRESS, 



BY 



W. A. FOSTER, Esq., 

BARRISTER- AT-LAW, 



TORONTO : 

ADAM, STEVENSON & CO. 

1871. 



F5ol 



L/ANADA 



FlI\ST, 




^ HREE hundred and thirty-seven years ago Jacques 
*, Cartier erected the cross at Gasp6, and, amid the 
triumphal shout of his hardy mariners, flung to the 
breeze the Fkur-dfrlis of old France. Since then 
what a land of adventure and romance has this been ! 
We may have no native ballad for the nursery, or 
home-born epic for the study ; no tourney feats to rhapsodise 
over, or mock heroics to emblazon on our escutcheon; we 
may have no prismatic fables to illumine and adorn the 
preface of our existence, or curious myths to obscure and 
soften the sharp outline of our early history ; yet woven 
into the tapestry of our past, are whole volumes of touch- 
ing poetry and great tomes of glowing prose that rival fiction in 
eagerness of incident, and in marvellous climax put fable to the 
blush. We need not ransack foreign romance for valorous 
deeds, nor are we compelled to go abroad for sad tales of priva- 
tion and suffering. The most chivalrous we can match ; the 
most tried we can parallel. Each stage of this country's progress 
recounts to us, in all the simplicity of unpremeditated record, 
•sacrifices endured, hardships encountered, and brave deeds done, 
not amid the applause of an interested and anxious world, nor 

OJ 4 IjO 



6 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

yet amid the pomp and pride of oft recurring circumstance, but 
rather in silent, ever-changing strait and myriad-formed danger, 
when every faculty sprang into earnest, vigorous action, and 
every sense grew sharp by reason of restless emergency ; when 
civilization grappled with herculean savagery, and man fought 
with nature ; and when, alas ! the consciousness of duty done 
was the sole reward achieved, or the solitary unnamed mound, 
chapleted by the winter's snow, was the only monument won. 
Yet there are few heroes in our Pantheon. Where every man 
does his duty, heroes are not wanted and are not missed. 

For years our frontier echoed to the roar of battle ; the shrill 
scream of the Indian and the hoarse yell of the white man 
mingling in death-agony ; while along the dim corridors of our 
forests the unpitying North Wind came laden with the half- 
stifled sighs of lonely yet patient women, and the shivering wail 
of starving children. In the old times war raged almost con- 
tinuously, and every man was a soldier. First came the con- 
tests with the Iroquois and the Hurons, garnished with sad 
tales of civilized atrocities and savage vengeance. If one's 
appetite for horrors demands gratification, the needful stimulant 
may be found in the details of the massacre of Lachine, when 
1,400 Iroquois warriors swooped down by night upon a slum- 
bering village, and plied the torch and tomahawk with all the 
relentlessness of savage hate, showing mercy to neither age nor 
sex, and reserving only for a sickening butchery, those whom the 
inexorable flame spared. Two hundred men, women and chil- 
dren were burnt alive, and those who died under prolonged 
tortures were not a few. Houses, crops, everything was reduced 
to ashes, and woe held exultant sway amid desolation and 
blood. Next came the wars between England and France, with 
their mimic reproduction on this continent; the ambitions, 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 7 

animosities and jealousies of European diplomacy bringing 
devastation and death into Canadian homes ; and the swaying 
incidents of the Old World, finding their obsequious parallel, 
three thousand miles across the sea, in the wilds of the New. 
In vain the New Englander made desperate and persistent 
efforts to win Canada. In spite of repeated invasions, and in 
the face of large odds, the flag of France kept proudly afloat. 
A people varying in number, from 25,000 in 1679 to 7o>o°o in 
1 76 1, not only thwarted every attempt at their subjugation by 
the much more densely populated colonies to the south, but, 
with a little stingily rendered assistance from the parent land, 
held their own against repeated attack by land and sea. 
Mournful is the history of those days. There were no ambu- 
lance trains then, no Christian charities to assuage the horrors 
of battle, and little skill to alleviate its sufferings. Mercy was 
a word unknown, for the civilized had become apt pupils of the 
savage. Need I rehearse in your ears the terrible punishment 
inflicted on the simple-minded, inoffensive Acadians who "dwelt 
in the love of God and of man," — " their dwellings open as 
day, and the hearts of the owners " — when hundreds of families 
were torn apart, wife from husband, child from parent, and, 

" the freighted vessels departed, 
" Bearing a nation, with all its household gods, into exile, 
" Exile without an end, and without an example in story ;" 

discharging their living cargoes at intervals along the coast from 
Boston to Carolina, and flinging like outcasts among a people 
alien in race and language, those homeless, houseless, broken- 
hearted wanderers. O ! it was a cruel act without palliation, 
an inhuman vengeance without excuse! Who has not read 
of Evangeline, her heart filled with inexpressible sweetness, 



8 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

pursuing through the slow-revolving years the phantom of her 
love, and losing the celestial brightness of her girlhood in " the 
unsatisfied longing, and the dull, deep pain and constant 
anguish of patience;" or of Gabriel, " weary with waiting, 
unhappy and restless, seeking, in the western wilds, oblivion of 
self and of sorrow;" or of the dying Marguerite, of whom the 
sweet-voiced Whittier has sung : — 

" Done was the work of her hands, she had eaten her bitter bread ; 

' ' The world of the alien people lay behind her, dim and dead, 

" But her soul went back to its child time ; she saw the sun o'erflow 

" With gold the Basin of Minas, and set over Gaspereau ; 

" She saw the face of her mother, she heard the song she sang, 

" And far off, faintly, slowly, the bell for vespers rang." 

But pathetic incident must give place before the march of his- 
torical event. It was not until wearied out by incessant attack, 
deserted by the parent land, and overborne by superior num- 
bers, that the French Canadian laid down his arms and 
exchanged his allegiance. In the spring of 1758, 30,000 
British combatants were ready to march on Canada, not merely 
raw militiamen, but regular troops as well, led by officers trained 
on European battle-fields, armed with artillery and siege 
requisites, and supported by an active and daring fleet. The 
Canadians knew their danger and prepared to meet it. An 
inquest of the inhabitants was held, and the male population of 
the colony between the ages of sixteen and sixty was found to 
be but 15,000. Aid was implored from France, but instead of 
munitions of war and recruits, the devoted colonists were 
vouchsafed official despatches recommending them to dispute 
every inch of territory, foot to foot, with the British, and to 
sustain the honour of the French arms to the utmost. " Not 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 9 

only would additional troops be a means of aggravating the evils 
of the dearth which has too long afflicted the colony " — wrote 
the French Minister — " but the chances are great that if sent 
" thither, they would be captured on their way to you, by the 
British." Though thus basely deserted ; though exhausted by 
continual marching and incessant fighting ; though their dwel- 
lings were falling to ruin and their fields lay waste ; though their 
wives and children were crying for bread ; the despised and 
forsaken French Canadians neither flung aside their allegiance 
nor forgot their honour, but plunged into the final struggle with 
a devotion which excites our wonder and admiration. It was 
of no avail. On the 13th September, 1759, Quebec was taken. 
One year afterwards the French flag was hauled down and 
Canada became a part of the British Empire. Great was the 
joy manifested in England over the conquest of Louis XIV. 's 
" acres of snow." Addresses were presented to the King, con- 
gratulating him on this much-coveted addition to the Imperial 
possessions ; a statue in Westminster Abbey was accorded to 
Wolfe \ public thanks were decreed to each of the chief officers 
who had taken part in the Quebec expedition ; and it was 
ordered that prayers of thanksgiving should be offered to 
Heaven throughout the whole Empire. 

But change of rulers did not bring permanent peace to the 
harassed colonists. Sixteen years after Wolfe took Quebec, 
Canada again became the scene of war. The American Revo- 
lution broke out, and Canada, with a population of about 
70,000 was called upon to meet the attack of a people number- 
ing 3,000,000. Every art of persuasion was tried in vain by the 
Revolutionists to win the Canadians to their side ; due provi- 
sion was made in the Federal Constitution for the admission of 
Canada into the new confederacy, but without the anticipated 



IO CANADA FIRST; OR, 

result. Then it was concluded that more severe measures 
should be resorted to, in order to bring the refractory and 
blind inhabitants of this ice-clad region to a proper sense of 
their interests, if not their duty. One enthusiastic American 
Colonel proposed to conquer and hold the whole country with 
2,000 men. Finally, Canada was invaded by an army under 
General Schuyler, but, after a futile effort to carry out his instruc- 
tions to take Quebec, Montreal, and other places, the General 
withdrew. 

At the close of the revolutionary war, twenty-five thousand 
persons, exiles from the States, sought refuge in Canada. When 
we call to mind that there was not a tree cut from Ottawa to 
Kingston, a distance of 150 miles, that Kingston was a village 
of a few huts, and that around the shores of Lakes Ontario and 
Erie all was a dense wilderness, we can form some idea of the 
hardships that fell to the lot of those who sacrificed everything 
but honour, on the shrine of allegiance. Remember that the 
fighting done during the revolutionary war was not monopolized 
by the regular troops of Great Britain ; there were corps and 
regiments of American loyalists with familiar titles and desig- 
nations. They had their King's Rangers and Queen's Rangers, 
the Prince of Wales' American Volunteers, Georgia Loyalists, 
New Jersey Volunteers, Loyal New Englanders, Maryland 
Loyalists, Pennsylvania Loyalists, and so on, just as w r e have 
our Queen's Own or the Prince of Wales' regiment. Yet, when 
peace was made between Britain and the States, those loyalists 
who had placed their lives and property in peril were left to the 
tender mercies of the revolutionists, without any stipulation 
as to their protection, without any security even for their lives. 
Lord Loughborough spoke truly when in his place in the House 
of Lords he said : "In ancient or modern history there has not 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. II 

been so shameful a desertion of men who have sacrificed all to 
their duty and to their reliance upon British faith." Lord North 
spoke in like terms : " Never were the honour, the principles, 
the policy of a nation so grossly abused as in the desertion of 
those men, who are now exposed to every punishment that 
vengeance and poverty can inflict because they were not 
rebels/' Exile was the reward of those who had been for- 
saken by king and country, and thus Canada became the 
home of those whom we call the U. E. Loyalists. 

Thirty years after the acknowledgment of American Inde- 
pendence, came the war of 1812, with Canada once more 
the battle ground. An Act was passed by Congress calling 
100,000 volunteers into active service, but the Canadians were 
neither deceived by proclamations nor dismayed by threats. A 
call to arms rang throughout the country , echoing from lake to 
river, and piercing the inmost recesses of the forest. How the 
eyes of the old refugee loyalists must have flashed as the rusty 
flint-lock was taken from the rack above the fire-place, and the 
recollection of by-gone hardships and persecution came surging 
up from the past ! How must the pulses of the young men have 
throbbed as they grasped the trusty rifle, and, amid the sudden 
silence of home preparation for departure, pondered over the sad 
story of their parents' exile. Now there was opportunity for re- 
dressing old wrongs that clung to memory with fierce tenacity ! 
There was no calculation of the chances of success; no reckon- 
ing over the probable consequences of failure. All that they 
had forgotten was their desertion, in the hour of peril, by king 
and country. There were but 280,000 people all told in Up- 
per and Lower Canada, yet the event justified their self-confi- 
dence. General Hull with 2,500 men invaded Canada by way 
of Sandwich, and then surrendered himself and his army pris- 



CANADA FIRST; OR, 

oners of war at Detroit. General Van Rensellaer appeared at 
Queenston with 2,000 men, but only to surrender at least 900 
of them. General Smyth landed 3,000 men at Fort Erie, but 
was at once driven back. General Pike brought 2,500 men as, 
far as Little York, where he and 200 of them were blown 
into the air by an explosion at the Old Fort. General Win- 
chester led 1,000 men to Frenchtown, near Detroit, but their 
end was capture. General Dearborne, with 3,000 men, was de^ 
feated at Stony Creek. General Harrison, with 2,500 men, was 
beaten at Fort Meigs. General Wilkinson, with 3,000 men, 
was utterly routed at Chrysler's Farm. General Hampden set 
out with a grand army of 8,000 men to capture Montreal, but 
he suffered an ignominious defeat from a handful of Canadian 
militia under De Salaberry. General McClure succeeded in 
taking Niagara, but Hampden's defeat caused him to retire. 
General Brown crossed at Black Creek, with 5,000 men, but 
after the experience of Lundy's Lane and Fort Erie, deemed it 
prudent to withdraw. At no point along the frontier did the 
invaders gain any important advantage, and when the war en- 
ded, Canada had not lost one inch of territory. 

These are merely historical facts, but it is just as well to 
keep them at our fingers' end, for they are not unpleasant to 
reflect upon. Were we disposed to vaunt ourselves, we might 
come down to more modern times, and ask : Was there a dis- 
play of timidity in the Trent affair ? Did Canadians hold back 
when the sanctity of our common flag was violated? Were 
reasons for neutrality in the impending struggle searched out 
with eagerness ? Or did our people sigh over their little hoards 
of money — the fruit of years of hard work — or look with faint- 
ing heart at the scarce-born evidences of substantial progress 
that surrounded them ? Like the everlasting fire on the altar,. 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY, I $ 

loyalty gave forth a steady light, its flame never brighter or 
more pure than in the hour of national peril. Think you, now y 
that Canada has no claim to rank with those lands where ad- 
venture has had play and romance has had a" home, or that the 
heroic devotion which distinguished its inhabitants, of French 
and British origin, is less worthy of a place in story than the 
most cherished traditions of the old world ? 

But our past is characterised by something more than roman- 
tic attachment to a flag, or chivalrous devotion to an idea. Sen- 
timent did not blunt the edge of industry, nor suffering give 
excuse for idleness* Every breathing spell of war gave the 
husbandman opportunity. The sword and musket were ex- 
changed for the plough and sickle ; and a fruitful soil, feeling 
the warm glow of peace, yielded a grateful return. The forest 
echoed the ring of the axe and the crash of timber. Amid the 
solitariness of the back-woods the sturdy settler was hewing out 
a home for himself and his family, with hunger and cold kept 
merely at arm's length. Between him and his nearest neigh- 
bour, miles of dark forest intervened. The traveller or trader 
picked his way across tangled brushwood and fallen timber, or* 
tramped wearily over a trackless wilderness of snow, finding, 
few finger-posts by the road-side to point out the direction he* 
wished to take. All kinds of field work were done by hand,< 
for there were very few oxen and still fewer horses. In 1789,, 
the mails left Upper Canada for England about twice a year,, 
so that epistolary effort was not much taxed. For years th£ 
only road from Lower Canada was by the St. Lawrence, 1k& 
rapids being ascended by canoes and bateaux in ten or twelve? 
days, until the flat-bottomed Durham boats, steered with a ten- 
foot pole and pushed along by two men on each side, came into 
use. We can read in the York Gazette, of April 29th, 1815, 



14 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

that the Lieut-Governor, Sir George Murray, Kt, arrived at 
York from Burlington, in a birch canoe. But none of us need 
go far to learn all about the hardships of the early settlers, for 
witnesses are still among us who passed through the ordeal. 
Now we can afford to look back with some degree of compla- 
cency, for industry has produced abundant fruit, and we are 
reaping in joy a harvest sown in tears and trouble. As farm 
after farm was rescued from native wildness, schemes of inter- 
nal improvement, first viewed as shadowy impossibilities, grew 
into reality, whiJe the bounteous yield of a virgin soil sent new 
life into every artery of trade. Land was gradually freed from 
the tight-locking folds of rapacious hydras, and the barnacles 
that fattened on the offices of state were torn from the vitals 
of the country. What has been the result? In 1812, the pop- 
ulation of Canada was 280,000; to-day Canada has over four 
millions of people. In 1806, the value of the exports from 
the whole of the Provinces was $928,000 ; last year our ex- 
ports were over seventy-three millions, and our imports over 
seventy-four millions of dollars. In 181 5, the first steamboat 
was built on Lake Ontario ; to-day Canada is the third mari- 
time power in the world, with six million tons entered inwards, 
and five million tons entered outwards, engaged in carrying on 
our trade. In 1851, Canada had but fifty-five miles of railway; 
to-day there are three thousand miles in operation, several hun- 
dreds of miles under construction, and a scheme on foot to build 
2,500 miles more that will present a route between England and 
Japan, t,ioo miles shorter than by New York and San Fran- 
cisco, and give us a continuous line of four thoujand miles 
across the continent. We possess a system of canals the most 
complete in the world, that cost us twenty millions of dollars, 
—so complete indeed that President Grant looks upon it as 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 1 5 

part of the St. Lawrence navigation. The aggregate of our 
banking capital is over thirty-six millions of dollars, and the 
savings of our people, represented by deposits in our monetary 
institutions, amount to about sixty-four millions. 

We have coal in Nova Scotia, on the Atlantic ; coal at the 
Saskatchewan, in the heart of the Continent ; and coal at Van- 
couver's Island, on the Pacific. We have mineral wealth as 
various as our needs, and, in extent, boundless. We have, at 
our doors, exhaustless fisheries, the richest in the world, fur- 
nishing an annual yield estimated at twenty million dollars to 
the various countries engaged in them, and giving us a nursery 
for adventurous and hardy seamen. Our agricultural product 
is immense, and capable of indefinite expansion ; and our 
forests are the envy of the world. We have, or will have shortly, 
70,000 sailors, and now have at least 700,000 men between the 
ages of 20 and 60 available for defensive purposes. As for 
territory, we have more than half the continent, and elbow- 
room for a population of 40,000,000. Religious freedom exists 
here in its most perfect form, and our elaborate system of com- 
mon schools, colleges and universities gives an equal opportunity 
to all to achieve distinction. We have political institutions 
combining the greatest freedom with the most perfect restraint 
upon riot, recognizing the rights of the people without beget- 
ting distrust or disrespect for lawful authority : neither ignoring 
the poor nor bringing terror to the rich ; giving voice to property 
without drowning the tones of labour ; allowing complete self- 
government by means of a graduated jurisdiction and, through 
a well-understood and easily enforced system of responsibility^ 
admitting of reform without revolution, government without 
despotism. Our Dominion Legislature will compare favourably 
with any deliberative body in the world. Accident may have 



1 6 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

brought to the surface of politics a good many who float by 
reason of the cork-like lightness of their brains ; but, on the 
whole, our public men are as able as those of other countries. 
Our politicians have certainly carried party strife to the 
extreme, but it is an axiom that the smaller the pit, the more 
fiercely do the rats fight. The world would be rather a stupid 
place if all men thought and acted alike. The charms of 
novelty and variety are too attractive, even to the idlest and 
most listless, to render an unbroken harmony either pleasant to 
the eye or grateful to the ear. Diversities of temper, of un- 
derstanding, of interest, are necessary to stimulate our love of 
existence ; our impulses, offensive and defensive, serving as a 
preservative from mental paralysis, as a preventive as regards 
public langour and impotence, and as a safe-guard against the 
enervating influences of a dreary, monotonous dulness. The old 
Norse Mythology, with its Thor hammers and Thor hammer- 
ings, appeals to us,-^-for we are a Northern people, — as the 
true out-crop of human nature, more manly, more real, than the 
weak marrow-bones superstition of an effeminate South. For 
the purposes of attrition, the bigoted dotard, the reckless em- 
piric, and the shallow babbler are useful in their way, as are 
also the wise, the cautious, and the prudent. To produce the 
fine flour, we must have a nether as well as an upper mill-stone. 
We cannot construct politicians, nor manufacture political par- 
ties impromptu, for there is always an inert mass, incapable of 
sudden emotion, subject merely to that oscillation which gives 
victory or defeat. One might as well try to form a political 
party from persons of a peculiar physiognomy, as to fit meni 
into sets of political principles. They must come toge&her ■ 
naturally or not at all, for men cannot be sized in principles, as. 
if at company drill. Let the worst come, however ; we know. 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 1 7 

that political parties have their beginning and their end. Babels 
are built, and confusion of tongues ensues. But when discus- 
sion is pushed to the extreme, and enthusiasts and demagogues 
have gone mad, the turning point is reached, and an union of 
those who have their senses left, marks the beginning of a new 
•era. When the time does come for a renewal of strife, we spin 
around, in accordance with the immutable laws by which the 
political world is regulated, and we cannot, if we would, avoid 
the scrambling, jostling, quarrelling and fighting, incident to the 
enjoyment of free institutions in a free country. However, if 
there be a common object in view, and that the welfare of the 
country, it is best for us not to complain too much. 

Formerly, the provinces, whose destinies are now linked, 
were disunited, knowing little, and caring less, about each other. 
Instead of an interchange of commodities, and of floating 
population, the current ran in a foreign direction, and thou- 
sands of our young men were not only lost to us, but went to 
the building up of our rivals — yes, rivals ! else what means this 
shutting us out with higher tariffs, thwarting us by harsh 
legislation, abrogating reciprocity treaties, and obstructing our 
development? But we were not always considered rivals. 
At one time the prospect looked gloomy enough. Old Canada 
was a dependency, with its best portion shut in from the sea- 
board for five months of the year ; separated from those of 
kindred sympathies, and acknowledging a like allegiance, by an 
almost untraversable tract of country ; gazing at the prosperity 
of a nation that held out every inducement to unite with it ; 
without manufactures or capital, yet witnessing a stream of 
British wealth pouring into the lap of its overshadowing neigh- 
bour ; thinly populated and outbid in attracting immigration. 
Times have changed, however, and there is no reason why this 

B 



1 8 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

era should not be but the dawn of our prosperity. All that 
has been done here, has been accomplished in the teeth of com- 
petition with a nation which calls itself, and is generally ac- 
cepted as, the most enterprising of all nations; which " beats all 
creation" in everything it does, " steals the keys from snoring 
Destiny," and outruns time in its hurry to do it. We have been 
alternately flattered and threatened, yet neither wile nor threat 
has mortgaged our country with dishonour, or caused us to 
sacrifice our identity. So if we take pride in the past there is 
some excuse for us ; if we hope for the future, we have, at least, 
some justification. Thanks to Dr, Ryerson, our school child- 
ren have now the means of acquiring a knowledge of Canadian 
geography without first searching through every State in the 
American Union to find the country they live in, and can now 
learn something of Canadian history without first pumping dry 
the reservoir of Yankee buncombe. 

Thus far, my object has been to indicate our advancement 
as a country and as a people, but it may be well to consider 
whether individual effort has kept pace, in individual results, 
with combined action and joint progress ; whether the unit 
has distinguished itself when isolated from the mass ; whether 
the mind has grown inert by reason of the need to supply mere 
bodily wants ; whether chopping and digging have blunted 
sensibilities, and kept in the back-ground the more refined 
ambitions of the soul ; whether our soil is more fertile than 
our brains ; whether scholarship and talent find in Canada a 
congenial home. It may be bold for mere colonists, • mere 
backwoodsmen, to venture on dangerous comparisons ; but let 
us hazard results. There are Canadian names known to the 
world, outside our boundaries, on which renown has fallen, and 
we are entitled, at least, to claim whatever credit is our due. 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 1 9 

Thanks to the industry of Mr. Morgan, we have not far to go 
for information. Sir William Logan is one of the .great geolo- 
gists of the day ; Sir Duncan Gibb is among the foremost in 
medical science. In Art, distinction has been attained by 
Canadians, one of whom flourished in Russia; Gilbert S. Newton 
became famous for colour, and was made a Royal Academician in 
London ; Falardeau, a poor Quebec boy, won celebrity in Italy. 
Among ourselves there are names we delight to honour — Paul 
Kane, Plamondon, Bourassa, Berthon, Hamel, and Legare — 
all gifted artists. We claim Sir Samuel Cunard, the father of 
steam navigation on the Atlantic ; Sir Hugh Allan, the largest 
ship-owner in the world; and Sir Edward Belcher, the first 
surveying officer of the day. Scholarship and profound 
thought have not suffered from our practical life. Archaeo- 
logical lore finds a master spirit in Dr. McCaul, of our national 
University, who is pronounced, by the Satw'day Review, to be 
a better scholar than any of the antiquaries who have taken to 
the elucidation of Britanno-Roman inscriptions. Dr. Wilson 
not only casts new light upon the archaeology and pre-historic 
annals of Scotland, but dives into the ethnology and antiquities 
of America, with a zeal and success which evoke the admira- 
tion of those skilled in such subjects. From the Ottawa region 
Mr. Todd sends forth the most useful and complete text-book 
that has ever appeared, on the practical operation of the British 
constitution. John Foster Kirk, of New Brunswick, has, ac- 
cording to the highest critics, entitled himself to take rank with 
those accomplished historians, Prescott and Motley, by the 
production of his history of Charles the Bold. We can boast, 
too, of humourists, novelists, and tale-writers, who have distin- 
guished themselves. Judge Haliburton, of Nova Scotia, has 
won fame through the sayings and doings of Sam Slick. Be- 



20 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

sides him, we claim Major Richardson, the author of "Wa- 
cousta;" Professor de Mille, of New Brunswick, who wrote 
"The Dodge Family"; Mr. Jenkins, the author of " Ginx's 
Baby" ; De Boucherville, Bourassa, and Lajoie, who have, in 
their writings, evidenced all the sparkle and dash of true French- 
men ; Mrs. Fleming, of New Brunswick, known to American 
literature as Cousin May Carleton ; Rossana Leprohen ; Louisa 
Murray, who contributes to Once a Week; and Mrs. Moodie, 
who has given to us a vivid picture of old-time hardships, in 
her " Roughing it in the Bush." Our historians are Garneau, 
Christie, Murdock, McMullen, Lindsey, and Canniff. In 
Charles Heavysege, the author of "Saul," and "Jepthah's 
Daughter," we have a dramatic poet of great imagination and 
feeling, whose productions were received with considerable 
wonder by foreign critics. One of the great Quarterlies, the 
North British, said, " This work is undoubtedly one of the 
most remarkable ever written out of Great Britain. This copy," 
the critic goes on to remark, " was given to the writer of the 
present article by Mr. Nathaniel Hawthorne, to whose recom- 
mendation of this, to him and to us, unknown Canadian poet, 
our readers, and English literature generally, are beholden for 
their first introduction to a most curious work." Charles 
Sangster chants, in no unworthy strains, the beauties and sub- 
limities of our great waters. Of him Dr. O. W. Holmes wrote, 
" His verse adds new interest to the woods and streams amidst 
which he sings, and embellishes the charms of the maidens he 
celebrates." The soul-stirring lyrics of Alexander McLachlan 
combine manly thought with apt and terse expression; and 
those of us who have been fortunate enough to have familiar- 
ized ourselves with them, need not a Sir Archibald Alison to 
tell us that the author is one truly inspired with the genius of 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 21 

poetry. Isidore Ascher has sung tenderly and sweetly of 
household gods, in his " Voices from the Hearth ; " and Charles 
Mair, the Canadian Keats, tempts us with delicious melody 
away to the sunny hills of his own " Dreamland."* However, 
we do not make pretence to having achieved, as a people, 
great renown in literature. "The Family Physician," and 
" Every Man His own Lawyer," are still purchased with avidity, 
while the poem or the essay lies on the bookseller's shelf, accu- 
mulating dust and respectability ; though, in this particular, we 
are perhaps no worse off than our neighbours. We have done 
well, everything considered, and our cousins across the lines 
have little room for brag over us, as there are not a dozen 
names in their literature that can be placed in the front rank 
among the poets, historians, and novelists of to-day. 

In the annals of war, Canadians have achieved distinction 
for skill and valour. The old French times give to us the names 
of DTberville, of Montreal, who was reputed the most skilful 
naval officer in the service of France, and of De Lery, of Quebec, 
one of its first military engineers. Need we call the roll of 
those Canadians who have done battle for Britain? Major- 
General Dunn campaigned in Egypt, Italy and Spain ; Major- 
General Beckwith fought at the Nile and at Waterloo ; Admiral 
Sir Provo Wallis captured the Chesapeake ; Admiral Watt 
figured in a hundred engagements ; Admiral Sir George West- 
phal was wounded on board the Victory at Trafalgar ; Sir Thos. 
Wiltshire served in India and in the Peninsular war ; Captain 
McNab, of Toronto, was on Picton's staff at Waterloo ; Sir 
Richard England led the 3rd division at Inkerman ; Sir Fen- 
wick Williams won fame at Kars, and Sir John Inglis at Luck- 

* Those who desire to acquaint themselves with the best efforts of our 
song writers will find the Rev. E. H. Dewart's collection very useful. 



2 2 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

now ; Col. Dunn, of Toronto, was selected, as the bravest of 
the immortal Six Hundred, to receive the Victoria Cross ; Read, 
of Perth, though a surgeon, won the same reward of valour, 
for daring feats in the Indian mutiny. Side by side, with the 
soldier of the motherland, the Canadian fought with equal 
devotion, and fell with equal honour. The hot sun of India 
looks down upon the graves of Montizambert, Evans, Joly, 
Sewell, and Vaughan ; in the Crimea, Parker fell with his face 
to the foe ; and on the ramparts of the Redan died Welsford, 
with the bloom of youth glowing on his cheek, and all a boy's 
enthusiasm fresh at his heart. 

We have still another record of competition and success 
which is worthy of reference. The great British Universities 
have not been left untried by Canadians. Hincks, of Toronto, 
Redpath, of Montreal, Vidal, of Sarnia, proved that it is possible 
for our young men to compete successfully with the best. At 
the Staff College, at Sandhurst, Ridout, of Toronto, headed the 
list of candidates from all branches of the service. Robinson, 
of Toronto, came out fourth, and Benson, of St. Catharines, was 
the recipient of special honours for the high stand he took. 
Even the great public schools of England have not been essayed 
in vain. Not long ago Plum, of Niagara, was the head boy at 
Rugby. 

But with so much reason for self-felicitation, we are not 
apprehensive that vanity will obtain undue ascendancy in the 
national character — for some time at least. Lest we should 
feel disposed to vaunt ourselves unduly, it may be well to bear 
in mind that Canada has been frequently spoken of with con- 
tempt. The normal old-world idea respecting us and our 
country resolves itself into confused pictures, in which frost and 
snow, falling timber, snow shoes, furs, and wild Indians are the 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 23 

most prominent, if not the only, objects of vision. Peculiar 
notions are suggested by the word "Colony," so that it requires 
no great dexterity in intonation to use it as an efficient term of 
reproach. We know that when the absence of a criminal was 
desired, he was transported to a colony ; when a political or 
religious zealot became obnoxious, he fled or was banished to 
a colony ; when a " ne'er-do-weel " was to be got rid of, he 
was assisted to a colony. Wild spirits sought it through love of 
adventure ; persons of strong religious convictions braved its 
unknown dangers through enthusiasm ; and, when resources 
grew narrow and bread scarce, gnawing poverty drove into the 
emigrant-ship many a true man and noble woman, snapping 
heart-strings that would not be untied, uprooting tender associa- 
tions that seemed incapable of disentanglement, and unveiling 
to the rude gaze of the stranger all those sanctities of emotion 
whose shrine is the innermost tabernacle of our being. The 
tremulous farewells wafted from the ship's side, were but the 
prelude to a new life of heroic purpose and resolute action. We 
can scarcely wonder, therefore, that the word colony carries 
with it some awkward as well as sad significations. The estab- 
lishment of the colonies of Ancient Greece was occasioned by 
necessity ; those of Rome by utility ; and those of Modern 
Europe by greed and ambition. The American Colonies were 
looked upon as feeders to the Mother Land ; their resources 
being regarded as so much plunder for home enterprise, and 
their population as legitimate prey for home avarice. In the 
old French times Canada was farmed out to monopolists ; and 
even when French Canadians here were fighting for their very 
existence against large odds, Frenchmen in France were 
writing disparagingly of them, as " a people who multiplied 
slowly in the woods, who associated with savages, but who 



24 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

furnished no return to the royal exchequer, no soldier to the 
royal host, no colonial merchandise to the home trader." 
Brave Canadian officers were slighted and displaced to make 
room for the indigent yet supercilious favourites of the home 
authorities ; and we read that the appointment of the Marquis 
de Vaudreuil, as Governor of Montreal, was conceded with 
much hesitation, because his countess was a native Cana- 
dian. Coming down to more modern times, we can appease 
our hunger for criticism and satisfy our thirst for notice, to the 
fullest extent, from books of travel, as well as from the periodi- 
cal press. Dr. John Hpwison, a Scotch traveller, tells the 
w^orld of a people (meaning ourselves) " who are the untutored 
incorrigible beings that they were when, the ruffian remnant of 
a disbanded regiment or outlawed refuse of some European 
nation, they sought refuge in the wilds of Upper Canada, aware 
that they would neither find the means of sustenance, nor be 
countenanced in any civilized country." Sir Charles Dilke, in 
his " Greater Britain," pronounces Canadian loyalty to be mere 
hatred to the United States, and sees no reason why the Mother 
Country should spend blood and treasure in protecting Cana- 
dians against the consequences of their hate. The Edinburgh 
Review described us as "retainers who will neither give nor 
accept notice to quit." The Fenian raids evoked some plain 
language from a portion of the English press. One journal, 
the Army and Navy Gazette, said : — " There are upwards of 
3,000,000 sturdy colonial Britons there, all told, and they are 
so dreadfully afraid of the approach of the raw, ragged Fenians 
that may succeed in forcing the United States cordon, as to be 
incessantly calling on the mother country for military aid. 
Every newspaper in the colony is filled with the same doleful 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 25 

appeal for help. Canadians are calling lustily upon England to 
do for them what, if they had any pluck or spirit, they ought to 
do for themselves. They yield us no revenue, they give no 
encouragement to our trade, and yet, in the moment of assumed 
danger, they call out with almost feminine nervousness for help." 
One lady traveller, whose name is not vouchsafed to us, in the 
record of her experience in Canada, speaks of our most respect- 
able society as being characterized by the manners of the 
kitchen, and the grotesque snobbery of the servants' hall. 
" Their ladies," says our waspish critic, " do not regard 
incivility as unladylike, and see little or no impropriety in 
rudeness, oftentimes mistaking the former for haughtiness, and 
supposing the latter to be the perquisite of good breeding." 

Besides this direct method of toning our vanity, there is a 
sort of compliment and method of patronage that loses none of 
its sting by reason of indirectness. When Dr. McCaul deci- 
phers obscure inscriptions, great wonder is expressed by foreign 
critics that so much sagacity and knowledge should ripen here ; 
when Dr. Wilson writes of Pre-historic Man, amazement takes 
possession of the reviewer's breast; when Todd defines the 
limits of the royal prerogative and the theory and practice of 
parliamentary privilege, it is considered a remarkable circum- 
stance that England should be indebted to a colonist for such a 
work ; and even when a Canadian Volunteer produces a book 
which is deemed worthy of translation into French and German, 
certain of the military authorities throw up their hands at such 
presumption, and point their satire with epithets whose force is 
supposed to lie in certain equivocal associations connected with 
the word " Colony," and the designation " Colonist." 

A young country is peculiarly sensitive to outside criticism. 



26 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

A very few words spoken in our favour, by a stranger, give us 
pleasure ; and a very few malicious words, uttered to our detri- 
ment, irritate sorely. The fact of being a dependent, though 
but in name, does not blunt the edge of harshly worded rebuke. 
Our cousins across the lines, with all their self-esteem and 
resources, and strength, smarted under the lash of a foreign 
press ; so that Canadians, with fewer pretensions, might be 
excused for displaying somewhat of a similar weakness. It was 
easy to laugh at us when, with pardonable vanity, we examined 
English opinion for some word of encouragement, some tribute 
to our loyalty, some recognition of our industry, some acknow- 
ledgment of our progress. The circumstances in which the 
various Provinces were placed, as well as the recollection of 
what had been endured in the preservation of our allegiance, 
naturally enough prompted us to look to the Mother Land for 
some appreciation of our steadiness of purpose. Little satisfac- 
tion was derived, by us at least, from the dictatorial utterances, 
and still less from the scoldings indulged in with "all the 
license of ink," that came to us across the ocean. We find, 
also, some ground of complaint in that disregard of the tie of 
kinship and the bond of common allegiance, which leads so 
many British travellers and writers to lavish their compliments 
on the United States and their satire on Canada. Time and 
again comparisons have been made to our prejudice in respect 
of progress. Time and again have we been lectured on our 
bubbling and seething loyalty, and charged with an inclination 
to sponge on the Imperial exchequer. It is not difficult to 
ridicule hearty expressions of attachment, nor does it require 
great cleverness to fling off the word " lip-loyalty." Those who 
so glibly utter the reproach forget what it is that they are 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 27 

striking at. The citizen of the United States has a flag of his 
own, and a nationality of his own — the Canadian has ever had 
to look abroad for his. For years British policy isolated the 
Provinces, to prevent their absorption in the neighbouring 
Republic, and in so doing stunted the growth of a native 
national sentiment. The exiles of the American revolution 
carried hither the recollection of injuries endured and losses 
sustained, for a cause which they, foolishly or wisely, deemed 
worthy of the sacrifice. Many of them gave up home, lands, 
kindred, and the associations of youth, and exchanged comfort 
and ease for the dangers and hardships of an inhospitable and 
unknown wilderness. When Englishmen, therefore, undertake 
to cast reflections on a loyalty that has so frequently proved 
itself a reality, they should first consider how much is covered 
by the boast. Now that we are prosperous and united, vigour- 
ous and well-to-do ; and now that some of the traditions of the 
past are gradually losing their hold on the imagination of a new 
generation, that sentiment which so long found an outlet in 
declamation over the glories of the Mother Land, will draw a 
more natural nourishment from native sources. Critics should 
consider whether the doling out of so much gratitude for so 
much benefit received will be more acceptable than the heredit- 
ary romantic attachment which allowed no danger, no loss, no 
neglect to sully its purity. Young as we are, we are too old to 
be abused without retort ; weak as we may be, we are too strong 
to be bullied with impunity. Whar we demand from English 
writers is fair play ; and should the hpur of peril come, we may 
venture to ask from England, withuut sinking our self-respect, 
a quantum of assistance proportioned rightly to the part we 
play in attack or defence. No decorations lavishly distributed, 
no baronetcies generously conferred, can or will answer as a 



28 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

substitute for respect and kindness or a mutual interchange of 
affection.* 

* The following extract from the Church Herald, the organ of the Church 
of England in Canada, is worthy of serious consideration: — " Hereditary 
honours may be suited to a country of hereditary estates. But Canada is 
not a country of hereditary estates ; nor is there, amongst our people, the 
slightest tendency to make it so. Consequently, if our leading men, instead 
of being knighted, are made baronets, there will be some risk of our having 
baronets sinking into the poorer classes of society, and trailing their 
escutcheons in the dust. Even in England, in spite of primogeniture and 
family settlements, there is a considerable number of pauper peers, whose 
titled indigence often forces them to sponge on the public, or resort to 
the still lower expedient of marrying money-bags. But in England the 
fortunes of the landed nobility and gentry are stability itself compared 
with the perpetual fluctuations of Colonial wealth. No doubt, in creat- 
ing Colonial baronets care will always be taken to select men so rich as 
to hold out a fair hope of their transmitting large properties to their 
descendants. But this will tend to another evil, inasmnch as it will lead 
the public mind to connect honour with wealth, instead of connecting it 
with personal merit ; and, assuredly, the lesson that wealth is above merit 
is not exactly the one which commercial Colonies need to learn. 

" There is another consideration which somewhat alloys our satisfaction 
in seeing an English baronetcy conferred on a Canadian. We regard 
with jealousy on behalf of Canada anything which tends to make her 
leading men look to another country, even though it be our mother 
country, for the highest rewards of merit. If Canada is to be a nation, 
it is time that her sons should begin to look for the highest rewards of 
merit here. Hitherto, the case of all the Colonies, in this respect, has 
been the same. None of them have been regarded, either by merchants 
or politicians, as their country, the ultimate sphere of their own efforts 
and aspirations, and the future home of their children. The Colonial 
merchant has amassed wealth in the hope of carrying it home to Eng- 
land, buying a great house in London, mingling as a member of the 
great plutocracy in London society, and rolling in a carriage round Hyde 
Park. The politician, in the same manner, has looked for his highest 
meed, not to the applause of the Colony, or to the gratitude of future 
generations of colonists, but to the favour of Downing Street, and has 
trimmed his course in the hope of receiving the rewards which Downing 
Street has to bestow, and of ultimately going home to enjoy them. 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 29 

As between the various Provinces comprising the Dominion, 
we need some cement more binding than geographical contact ; 
some bond more uniting than a shiftless expediency ; some 

While this continues it is impossible that we should have truly national 
statesmen or chiefs of commerce and industry thoroughly identified with 
our interests, present and future, and capable of the patriotic munificence 
which, it must be owned, nobly distinguishes the wealthy men of the 
United States. Canadian men will seek to leave their names in the 
British peerage, not in the statute book of Canada ; Canadian merchants, 
instead of spending their wealth in the acquisition of the renown which 
belongs to the founders and benefactors of great national institutions, 
will hoard it as a means of founding a family, and they will transfer it 
and themselves as speedily as possible to the only country where a 
family can be securely founded. We prize as highly as is possible to 
prize it, the continuance of an affectionate connection between Canada 
and the mother country ; but the connection must be so regulated as not 
to prevent Canada from becoming a nation. 

1 ' What we say with regard to the State in Canada, may be said with 
regard to the Church also. We have sometimes heard complaints that the 
merits of Colonial clergymen are not recognized by promotion in the 
English Church ; but we cannot sympathize with these complaints, because 
it appears to us that such promotion, however gratifying in some respects, 
would confirm Colonial Churchmen in a misapprehension of their posi- 
tion. Let the Church in Canada keep the most grateful recollection of 
her origin, and cherish her spiritual connection with the Church of the 
mother country ; but she must remember that she is herself the Church, 
not of England, but of Canada, and that she will have to draw her life 
from the soil in which she is planted, and to adapt herself to the cir- 
cumstances and exigencies of her actual position. Our laity are apt to 
fancy that they are still members of a Church established and endowed 
by the State, and to refuse to contribute for the support i of the clergy 
to anything like the extent which the voluntary system requires. Per- 
haps the clergy, on their part, sometimes do a little to keep up this 
illusion. Both clergy and laity, however, must get rid of it, if the 
Church is to prosper in this country. The Canadian laity have to sup- 
port a Canadian clergy under the voluntary system ; the clergy have to 
gain the confidence of the Canadian laity under the same system, and 
to found the Church on the free allegiance of the Canadian people/ ' 



30 CANADA FIRST j OR, 

lodestar more potent than a mere community of profit. Tem- 
porizing makeshifts may suit a futureless people. Unless we 
intend to be mere hewers of wood and drawers of water until 
the end, we should in right earnest set about strengthening the 
foundations of our identity ; unless we are ready to become the 
laughing-stock of the world, we had better not lose sight of the 
awful possibility of sinking under self-imposed burdens of terri- 
tory. It is not by mimicking the formalities of the old world, 
or aping time-worn solemnities which have ceased to be solemn, 
that dignity is to be acquired, nor is it by pantomine or burles- 
que that the thews of our nationality are to be strengthened. 
Periwigs and Gold-sticks have had their day, and it is not well 
for us to attempt to set up the mummied idols of a buried past 
as objects of worship, or graft on our simple Canadian maple 
the gaudy outgrowth of a luxuriant tropical vegetation. Here, 
every man is the son of his own works, and we need no antique 
code of etiquette nor the musty rules of the Heralds' office to 
tell us whom or what to honour. 

We know not what the future may have in store for us. Let 
the event be what it may, it is our bounden duty to prepare for 
it like sensible men conscious of obligation to humanity. The 
problem of self-government is being worked out anew with 
fresh data, and we must do our part in the solution. There are 
asperities of race, of creed, of interest to be allayed, and a 
composite people to be rendered homogenous. Away down in 
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, there is the old Teutonic stock, just 
as it exists in the county of Waterloo in Ontario ; there are the 
descendants of the Pennsylvania Dutchmen in Lincoln, and of 
the New York Dutchmen around the Bay of Quint6 ; Highland 
Scotch clustering together in Prince Edward Island and Cape 
Breton, just as they do in Glengarry or Bruce ; and the old 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 3 1 

Norman and Breton stocks in the Province of Quebec. In the 
interior of the continent there are French and Scotch half- 
breeds, with their Indian blood and Indian habits. Then 
again, across on the Pacific coast there is a motley collection of 
English, Irish, Scotch and Canadian, with all their varied pecu- 
liarities. But the task of fusing and blending these various 
elements is much less difficult than it seems. Switzerland has 
carried its constitution safely through three European revolu- 
tions, yet, of its two-and-a-half millions, one-and-two-thirds speak 
German, one-half million, French, and the remainder, Italian and 
other tongues. No ; — the difficulty is not in the multitude of 
differences, real or fancied, that exists, but rather in finding some 
common basis of agreement strong enough to counteract disin- 
tegrating tendencies. Where are we to look for such a basis ? 
In a work, lately published, an Englishman who paid us a visit, 
remarks that " to the Canadian it is of small concern what you 
think of his country, He has little of patriotic pride in it him- 
self. Whatever pride of country a Canadian has, its object, for 
the most part, is outside of Canada." And the writer, from 
whom we are quoting, goes on to assert that " whatever may be 
alleged to the contrary, the belief in the possibility of a separate 
future for Canada is steadily lessening among Canadians." Is 
this true? True or not, there is certainly some ground to 
justify a casual visitor in such a conclusion. We have too many 
among us who are ever ready to worship a [foreign Baal, to the 
neglect of their own tutelary gods. There are too many 
Cassandras in our midst ; too many who whimper over our 
supposed weakness and exaggerate others' supposed strength. 
But there are those who do not despair of the State ; who are 
neither weak-kneed nor faint of heart ; who know that strength 
comes from within. There is a name I would fain approach 



32 CANADA FIRST; OR, 

with befitting reverence, for it casts athwart memory the shadow 
of all those qualities that man admires in man. It tells of one 
in whom the generous enthusiasm of youth was but mellowed 
by the experience of cultured manhood ; of one who lavished 
the warm love of an Irish heart on the land of his birth, yet 
gave a loyal and true affection to the land of his adoption ; who 
strove with all the power of genius to convert the stagnant pool 
of politics into a stream of living water ; who dared to be 
national in the face of provincial selfishness, and impartially 
liberal in the teeth of sectarian strife ; who from Halifax to Sand- 
wich sowed broadcast the seeds of a higher national life, and 
with persuasive eloquence drew us closer together as a people, 
pointing out to each what was good in the other, wreathing our 
sympathies and blending our hopes ; — yes ! one who breathed 
into our new Dominion the spirit of a proud self-reliance, and 
first taught Canadians to respect themselves. Was it a wonder 
that a cry of agony rang throughout the land when murder, foul 
and most unnatural, drank the life-blood of Thomas D'Arcy 
McGee ? 

There are times when the sluggish pulse is quickened into 
activity ; when the heart throbs with sympathy the most in- 
tense ; when all that is human within us asserts unwonted 
supremacy. The sense of a loss shared in by each, of a dan- 
ger encountered by all, brings before us with startling vividness 
how much we have in common. Such a time it was when the 
flower of our youth went forth to repel a wanton and unpro- 
voked invasion. While tears sprang to the eyes of many fond 
fathers and loving mothers, affection itself was strengthened by the 
strain to which it became subject, and hallowed by the shrine 
of its self-immolation. Such a time it was when the lifeless 
bodies of those who fell in the conflict were brought home. 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. $3 

Though a load of grief pressed on every heart, we felt proud 
that the post of danger had not been left to strangers ; that 
bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh had been the first to 
meet the foe ; that our own breasts had been bared to the 
.storm. Such a time it was when the assassin's hand struck 
down the gifted, the genial, the patriotic McGee. Our country 
reeled with the blow. Such a time it was when the news of 
the butchery of young Scott at Fort Garry fell upon our ears, 
thrilling every nerve, and crowding the hot blood into our 
hearts. Humble though his position was — yet he was a Cana- 
dian ; his mental gifts may have been few — yet he died for us. 
" Spectet, inquit, patriam ; i?i conspectu legum. libertatisque 
moriatur. JVon tu hoc loco Gavium, non unwn hominem, nescio 
quern, civem Romanum, sed commu?ie?n libertatis et civitatis causain 
in (Hum cruciatum et crucem egisti" Let calumny do its worst 
— it shall not be said that the great statesman with brilliant 
talents and high place shall receive more abundant honour in 
his death, than the poor, friendless youth, who, away from kin- 
dred and home, cast all the attractions of life behind, and 
marched to his fate with a courage and devotion that fill us 
with awe. As we plant the cypress on the tenantless grave of 
one unknown to fame save in his death, and wreathe with im- 
mortelles the head-stone of an unpretending and almost friendless 
Canadian youth, we allow no inequality of mental gifts, no 
difference in position to separate in our memory the orator and 
statesman who dared to live for his country, and the brave yeo- 
man who dared to die for it. Were he the most obscure in 
the land, were he without a friend in the wide world, the cause 
he died in was ours, and the consciousness of that sacrifice 
should make every Canadian his friend There are those 
among us, God help them for cold-hearted sycophants ! who 
c 



34 CANADA first; or, 

dare to speak glibly of indiscretion when men have sacrificed: 
the savings of a lifetime of toil, and mutter generalities about 
rashness when men have staked their lives. We have too little 
of that indiscretion and that rashness now-a-days. When we 
have grown so wise as to do everything by line and rule, and so 
discreet as to yield to the demands of force, we shall have at- 
tained a state of perfection incompatible with a free existence. 
The meanest of all meanness is ingratitude, and there are de- 
grees even in that. The thankless wretch who flings back, in 
our teeth, alms the measure of our ability, is a miracle of grati- 
tude, compared with him who seeks to blacken the memory of 
one who died a martyr, or, with malignant spite, to strip all of 
good from the sacrifice. We have need to stand by each other, 
and we would have all know that he who places us under na- 
tional obligation, shall not go unrewarded; that sufferings en- 
dured on our account shall not be forgotten ; that the man who 
steps to the front, shall neither be deserted nor harshly judged 
by those in the rear. We have been taunted with lack of con- 
fidence in the future of our country ; let us not give occasion 
for the imputation of want of heart. It is alleged that we 
are prone to exhibit a cowardly spirit ; let us show that we can 
at least recognize and respect courage. 

We may, perhaps, lay ourselves open lo the charge of senti- 
mentalism, but men die for sentiment and oftentimes sacrifice 
everything for an idea. A piece of bunting is not of much 
worth, yet call it a flag and it may cost scores of lives ; a song 
does not look very formidable, yet it may quicken revolution 
and desolate an empire. There is a national heart which can 
be stirred to its depths ; a national imagination that can be 
aroused to a fervent glow; and, when noble deeds are to be 
done, or great triumphs of progress and reform to be achieved, 



OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 35 

we appeal in vain to reason to lead the forlorn hope or mount 
the imminent deadly breach ; but at the first trumpet blast, 
passion, enthusiasm, youth, step proudly to the front, and press 
forward with resistless eager pace. The political machine must 
have a motive power ; where shall we seek that power if not in 
the national character ? A proper organization of those high 
qualities which form character commends itself, therefore, as the 
elementary work of those with whom the education of the peo- 
ple rests. " You have sent your young men to guard your fron- 
tier/' said D'Arcy McGee. " You want a principle to guard 
your young men, and thus only your frontier. When I can hear 
your young men say as proudly, our federation, or our country, 
or our kingdom, as the young men of other countries do speak- 
ing of their own, I shall then have less apprehension for the 
result of whatever trials the future may have in store for us." 
The safety of Troy depended upon the possession of the Pal- 
ladium. Every people has its Palladium. Are we to be the 
sole exception? stumbling forward we know not where! 
groping for we know not what ! only too glad to live on suffer- 
ance ! fully satisfied so long as we are permitted to garner the 
weekly wage of toil ! Do Canadians lack in love of country? 
Search them out where you will — and there is hardly a nook 
on the continent left unvisited by their adventurous steps — and 
you find that change of scene has neither obliterated nor tar- 
nished the memories which ever cling to the land of one's 
birth. Should danger threaten, we know that the thoughts of 
many a wanderer would turn towards his Northern home, and we 
know too, that no intervening distance, no fetter of self-inter- 
est, would keep from our side, in the hour of trial, the loyal and 
true sons of our common country. 

Let but our statesmen do their duty, with the consciousness that 



36 CANADA FIRST ; OR, OUR NEW NATIONALITY. 

all the elements which constitute greatness, are now awaiting a 
closer combination : that all the requirements of a higher na- 
tional life are here available for use ; that nations do not spring 
Minerva-like into existence ; that strength and weakness are 
relative terms, a few not being necessarily weak, because they 
are few, nor a multitude necessarily strong because they are 
many ; that hesitating, doubting, fearing, whining over supposed 
or even actual weakness, and conjuring up possible dangers is 
not the true way to strengthen the foundations of our Domin- 
ion, or to give confidence in its continuance. Let each of us 
have faith in the rest, and cultivate a broad feeling of regard for 
mutual welfare, as being those who are building up a fabric that is 
destined to endure. Thus stimulated and thus strengthened 
by a common belief in a glorious future, and with a common 
watchword to give unity to thought and power to endeavour, 
we shall attain the fruition of our cherished hopes, and give our 
beloved country a proud position among the nations of the 
earth. 



THE END. 



Hunter, Rose & Co., Printers, Bookbinders, &c.