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she will be separated as the States were separated. She will desire to stand alone, and to enter herself as one among the nations of the earth.
She will desire to stand alone ;-alone, that is without dependence either on England or on the States. But she is so circumstanced geographically that she can never stand alone without amalgamation with our other North American provinces. She has an outlet to the sea at the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but it is only a summer outlet. Her winter outlet is by railway through the States, and no other winter outlet is possible for her except through the sister provinces. Before Canada can be nationally great, the line of railway which now runs for some hundred miles below Quebec to Rivière du Loup, must be continued on through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to the port of Halifax.
When I was in Canada I heard the question discussed of a Federal Government between the provinces of the two Canadas, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. To these were added, or not added, according to the opinion of those who spoke, the smaller outlying colonies of Newfoundland and Prince Ed. ward's Island. If a scheme for such a Government were projected in Downing Street, all would no doubt be included, and a clean sweep would be made without difficulty. But the project as made in the colonies appears in different guises as it comes either from Canada or from one of the other provinces. The Canadian idea would be that the two Canadas should form two States of such a confederation, and the other provinces a third State. But this slight participation in power would hardly suit the views of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In speaking of such a Federal Government as this, I shall of course be understood as meaning a confederation acting in connexion with a British Governor, and dependent upon Great Britain as far as the different colonies are now dependent.
I cannot but think that such a confederation might be formed with great advantage to all the colonies and to Great Britain. At present the Canadas are in effect almost more distant from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick than they are from England. The intercourse between them is very slight-so slight that it may almost be said that there is no intercourse.
A few men of science or of political importance may from time to time make their way from one colony into the other, but even this is not common. Beyond that they seldom see each other. Though New Brunswick borders, both with Lower Canada and with Nova Scotia, thus making one whole of the three colonies, there is neither railroad nor stage conveyance running from one to the other. And yet their interests should be similar. From geographical position their modes of life must be alike, and a close conjunction between them is essentially necessary to give British North America any political importance in the world. There can be no such conjunction, no amalgamation of interests, until a railway shall have been made joining the Canada Grand Trunk Line with the two outlying colonies. Upper Canada can feed all England with wheat, and could do so without any aid of railway through the States, if a railway were made from Quebec to Halifax. But then comes the question of the cost. The Canada Grand Trunk is at the present moment at the lowest ebb of commercial misfortune, and with such a fact patent to the world what company will come forward with funds for making four or five hundred miles of railway, through a district of which one half is not yet prepared for population? It would be, I imagine, out of the question that such a speculation should for many years give any fair commercial interest on the money to be expended. But nevertheless to the colonies,—that is, to the enormous regions of British North America, --such a railroad would be invaluable. Under such circumstances it is for the Home Government and the colonies between them to see how such a measure may be carried out. As a national expenditure to be defrayed in the course of years by the territories interested, the sum of money required would be very small.
But how would this affect England? And how would England be affected by a union of the British North American colonies under one Federal Government? Before this question can be answered, he who prepares to answer it must consider what interest England has in her colonies, and for what purpose she holds them. Does she hold them for profit, or for glory, or for power; or does she hold them in order that she may carry out the duty which has devolved upon her of extending civilization, freedom, and well-being through the new uprising nations of the world? Does she hold them, in fact, for her own benefit, or does she hold them for theirs ? I know nothing of the ethics of the Colonial Office, and not much perhaps of those of the House of Commons; but looking at what Great Britain has hitherto done in the way of colonization, I cannot but think that the national ambition looks to the wel. fare of the colonists, and not to home aggrandisement. That the two may run together is most probable. Indeed there can be no glory to a people so great or so readily recognized by mankind at large as that of spreading civilization from East to West, and from North to South. But the one object should be the prosperity of the colonists; and not profit, nor glory, nor even power to the parent country.
There is no virtue of which more has been said and sung than patriotism, and none which when pure and true has led to finer results. Dulce et decorum est pro patriâ mori. To live for one's country also is a very beautiful and proper thing. But if we examine closely much patriotism, that is so called, we shall find it going hand in hand with a good deal that is selfish, and with not a little that is devilish. It was some fine fury of patriotic feeling which enabled the national poet to put into the mouth of every Englishman that horrible prayer with regard to our enemies, which we sing when we wish to do honour to our sovereign. It did not seem to him that it might be well to pray that their hearts should be softened, and our own hearts softened also. National success was all that a patriotic poet could desire, and therefore in our national hymn have we gone on imploring the Lord to arise and scatter our enemies; to confound their politics, whether they be good or ill; and to expose their knavish tricks, --such knavish tricks being taken for granted. And then with a steady confidence we used to declare how certain we were that we should achieve all that was desirable, not exactly by trusting to our prayer to heaven, but by relying almost exclusively on George the Third or George the Fourth. Now I have always thought that that was rather a poor patriotism. Luckily for us our
national conduct has not squared itself with our national anthem. Any patriotism must be poor which desires glory or even profit for a few at the expense of many, even though the few be brothers and the many aliens. As a rule patriotism is a virtue only because man's aptitude for good is so finite, that he cannot see and comprehend a wider humanity. He can hardly bring himself to understand that salvation should be extended to Jew and Gentile alike. The word philanthropy has become odious, and I would fain not use it; but the thing itself is as much higher than patriotism, as heaven is above the earth.
A wish that British North America should ever be severed from England, or that the Australian colonies should ever be so severed, will by many Englishmen be deemed unpatriotic. But I think that such severance is to be wished if it be the case that the colonies standing alone would become more prosperous than they are under British rule. We have before us an example in the United States of the prosperity which has attended such a rupture of old ties. I will not now contest the point with those who say that the present moment of an American civil war is ill chosen for vaunting that prosperity. There stand the cities which the people have built, and their power is attested by the world-wide importance of their present contest. And if the States have so risen since they left their parent's apron-string, why should not British North America rise as high? That the time has as yet come for such rising I do not think; but that it will soon come I do most heartily hope. The making of the railway of which I have spoken, and the amalgamation of the provinces would greatly tend to such an event. If, therefore, England desires to keep these colonies in a state of dependency; if it be more essential to her to maintain her own power with regard to them than to increase their influence; if her main object be to keep the colonies and not to improve the colonies, then I should say that an amalgamation of the Canadas with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick should not be regarded with favor by statesmen in Downing Street. But if, as I would fain hope, and do partly believe, such ideas of national power as these are now out of vogue with British statesmen, then I think that such an amalgamation should receive all the support which Downing Street can give it.
The United States severed themselves from Great Britain with a great struggle and after heartburnings and bloodshed. Whether Great Britain will ever allow any colony of hers to depart from out of her nest, to secede and start for herself, without any struggle or heartburnings, with all furtherance for such purpose which an old and powerful country can give to a new nationality then first taking its own place in the world's arena, is a problem yet to be solved. There is, I think, no more beautiful sight than that of a mother, still in all the glory of womanhood, preparing the wedding trousseau for her daughter. The child hitherto has been obedient and submissive. She has been one of a household in which she has held no command. She has sat at table as a child, fitting herself in all things to the behests of others. But the day of her power and her glory, and also of her cares and solicitude is at hand. She is to go forth, and do as she best may in the world under that teaching which her old home has given her. The hour of separation has come; and the mother, smiling through her tears, sends her forth decked with a bounteous hand and furnished with full stores, so that all may be well with her as she enters on her new duties. So is it that England should send forth
her daughters. They should not escape from her arms with shrill screams and bleeding wounds, with ill-omened words which live so long, though the speakers of them lie cold in their graves.
But this sending forth of a child-nation to take its own political status in the world has never yet been done by Great Britain. I cannot remember that such has ever been done by any great power with reference to its dependency ;-by any power that was powerful enough to keep such dependency within its grasp. But a man thinking on these matters cannot but hope that a time will come when such amicable severance may be effected. Great Britain cannot think that through all coming ages she is to be the mistress of the vast continent of Australia, lying on the other side of the globe's surface; that she is to be the mistress of all South Africa, as civilization shall extend northward; that the enormous territories of British North America are to be subject for ever to a veto from Downing Street. If the history of past empires does not teach her that this may not be so, at least the history of the United States might so teach her. “But we have learned a lesson from those United States,” the patriot will argue who dares to hope that the glory and extent of the British Empire may remain unimpaired in scecula sæculorum. “ Since that day we have given political rights to our colonies, and have satisfied the political longings of their inhabitants. We do not tax their tea
. and stamps, but leave it to them to tax themselves as they may please.” True. But in political aspirations the giving of an inch has ever created the desire for an ell. If the Australian colonies, even now,—with their scanty population and still young civilization, chafe against imperial interference, will they submit to it when they feel within their veins all the full blood of political manhood? What is the cry even of the Canadians—of the Canadians who are thoroughly loyal to England ? Send us a fainéant Governor, a King Log, who will not presume to interfere with us; a Governor who will spend his money and live like a gentleman and care little or nothing for politics. That is the Canadian beau idéal of a Governor. They are to govern themselves; and he who comes to them from England is to sit among them as the silent representative of England's protection. If that be true—and I do not think that any who know the Canadas will deny it-must it not be presumed that they will soon also desire à fainéant minister in Downing Street ? Of course they will so desire. Men do not become milder in their aspirations for political power, the more that political power is