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Prof. L. E. Horning of Victoria University, Toronto, in a recent newspaper article, incidentally remarks: "Though there be doubtless good reading in modern Canadian authors, yet one is sometimes tempted to wonder whether there is not a bit of 'faddism' lurking in the industrious cultivation of Canadian spirit and Canadian literature, so called,' as many would term it."
Another writer, in replying in the Toronto Globe to Gordon Waldron's criticism of Canadian poetry in our December issue, says: "Nothing ing can be more certain than that if we have not a literature, no amount of talking will create one. It is well to remember that our country is young, and our literature is young also. But a judicious encouragement is the best way to foster the growth of the infant. Everybody cannot be a Beethoven, but is nobody, therefore, to be a musician?"
judicious encouragement. Much of the Canadian poetry and Canadian prose that has been written during the thirty years that Canada has been a nation will not live, and does not deserve to live; but because of this, we should not say that we have no literature. A little of what has been written during this period is worthy of being treasured and preserved, and will rank well with the best literary products of Great Britain and the United States; but because of this we should not hasten to declare that we have a satisfactory and worthy literature.
What Canada needs to-day is not more books, but better books; not more writers, but better writers. But, above all, Canadian literature needs wholesome criticism-criticism such as David Christie Murray has set out to give the fiction writers of England and the United States. It is perhaps safe to state that Canada has not to-day one competent and fair-minded literary critic. An author writes a book; his friends tell him it should be published; a publisher counts the pages of his manuscript and says: "If you will deposit $300 with me to guarantee me against loss, I will print a thousand copies for you"; and the book is printed. The newspapers announce a new Canadian book, and the public do not know whether to buy or not. An anxious Canadian purchases one book and is disappointed; he buys the next volume that is advertised, with a like result; then he stops in disgust, and will buy only works by authors whom he
This question of our attitude towards our crude literature is a proper one for serious consideration. If cultivating a national literature is taken to mean unduly encouraging young and inexperienced writers, lauding everything that is printed regardless of inherent merit, buying Canadian books simply because they are Canadian, and petting Canadian writers simply because they live in the land of "The Maple Leaf," then are we "faddists" indeed. This is encouragement, but it is not
(A Cartoon by Hunter).
What is going to happen to your Uncle Samuel one of these days if he persists in throwing that boomerang of his across the river.
knows, Stevenson, Kipling, Barrie, and those of like merit.
This lack of judicious encouragement on the part of publishers, literary men and reviewers has put the public at sea. They have no guides, and they cannot afford to buy a dozen Canadian books in the hope of getting one good one. The process is too expensive for the result obtained. There are men in Canada who could do this work if they would, cannot somebody induce them?
It is my firm opinion that the careless newspaper book-reviewing of the day is doing more to destroy what Canadian literature there is, than any other agency. The reviewing is usually done by inexperienced persons who
act on the assumption that they must praise every book so that the publishers may be induced to send more. The result is lamentable.
The cancer of Ontario, at present the banner province of this fair Dominion, is not the liquor traffic, not the protective tariff, not party politics, not lack of resources, people, opportunities, but her system of education. It is spreading out its gnawing arms and sapping her strength and destroying her vitality. Year by year it grows more deadly, and soon - but perhaps the language is too strong.
Our High Schools are robbing Ontario of her brightest and best. Go through the towns and cities of the United States and you find bright young Canadians everywhere. What sent them there? My answer is: Our High School system. Go through Canadian towns and cities, and you find them filled with starving doctors, lawyers, pedagogues and civil engineers. Who took all these from the plough, the bench, the machine, and the counter, and sent them out to be consumers of wealth instead of producers? I am fain to return the same
On the desk, as I write, lie a score of recent newspaper clippings and every one of them relates to this subject. The Macedonian cry for relief from this false education is coming up from all quarters, and he must be deaf
who will not hear. Ernest Heaton's article in this issue throws some light on the matter and is worthy of thoughtful perusal. Those in authority must beware lest the avalanche come.
HER GREATEST NEED. (A Cartoon by Hunter).
Our High School teachers are paid-not nominally, but in reality-by the success they have in coaching students for the departmental examinations, in turning out teachers, in producing scholarship men at the University Matriculation examinations. To do this they are forced to teach that the youth who has no higher ambition than to be a farmer, a mechanic, a merchant, a producer of wealth, is not worthy of attention and regard. It is only those who are willing to become teachers, preachers, lawyers, doctors--nonproducers, in fact-who are worthy of consideration. teach most thoroughly that manual labor is unworthy, and that it is in the professions only that brains and knowledge are needed. No boy who has ever been two years at a High School in Ontario ever goes back to the farm-unless he is a ninny and devoid of ambition. As well ask a boy to go back to knickerbockers after two years' delight in long trou
"You have done much to settle the School Question, Clifford. Now let us see how quickly you and Jimmy Smart can settle the country."
The High School masters are not individually to blame, but they are collectively. They should long ago have seen the error of their ways. But the blame attaches most of all to the system. As one writer recently put it, "Why should the High School teachers devote practically their whole energies to preparing pupils for an occupation which requires only about one-sixteenth part of the community?" Why should not our High Schools produce
farmers, merchants, mechanics, and such like, instead of teachers only ? Why not develop the commercial course more, and add an agricultural course? To do this, "third-class" certificates would need to be abolished, and the day upon which that is done should be made a statutory holiday for thanksgiving purposes. Let the 66 secondclass certificates be the lowest grade for teachers, and have Model Schools restricted to a half-dozen in number. This would give us fewer, but better, teachers, and would give us more far
Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper in the November National Review points out that the action of Lord Aberdeen upon the defeat of the Conservative Ministry in Canada at the polls has caused the Governor-General to be regarded by a considerable portion of the people as a political chief. Nevertheless, he may screen himself behind the dicta of Buxton, Under Secretary of State to the Colonies, dicta which may lead to an undue exercise of the prerogative. In this case, on defeat of the Tupper Ministry at the polls on June 23rd of this year, Lord Aberdeen at once declined to consider the appointment of senators or judges by this ministry, and Sir Charles promptly resigned. Mr. Laurier assumed responsibility for this act of the Governor-General, and so took office.
Continuing, Sir Hibbert states that the ministry had the right to meet Parliament on 17th July, and then to accept its defeat at the hands of the people's representatives. Yet Lord Aberdeen proposed between July 7th and July 17th to govern Canada himself. He then gives several quotations which he thinks tell against Lord Aberdeen's action. The chiefest of these is from Todd's Parliamentary Government in England, p. 513: "For, notwithstanding their resignations, the outgoing Ministers are bound to conduct the ordinary business of Parliament and of the country so long as they retain the seals of office. They continue, moreover, in full possession of their official authority and functions, and must. meet and incur the full responsibility of all public transactions until their
have kissed hands upon their acceptance of office."
From his quotations, and from the tenor of the few remarks that he makes, Sir Hibbert indicates his belief that Lord Aberdeen acted beyond his powers as laid down in his commission; that he took his knowledge of his minister's defeat from newspaper reports and not from official sources, and that he was unduly anxious to have everything in as favorable condition as possible for the incoming ministry. One of his phrases is rather strong: "Lord Aberdeen accordingly finds himself at the head of the Liberal Party in Canada." The closing paragraph is "It is not many years since a governor of the Colony of Victoria was recalled for approving of illegal acts of his advisers, and for acting as a partisan. It was no justification to him to have had the support of the dominant Party, Mr. Buxton to the contrary notwithstanding."
A clear statement of the other side of this case is to be found elsewhere in this issue.
THE CABOT CALENDAR.
The publishing success of the year 1896 was "The Cabot Calendar,' pared by Sara Mickle and Mary Agnes Fitzgibbon, and that it was a success shows that not only was the work thoroughly and ably done, but also that the picturesque features of our history are appreciated by the public generally. Canadian individuality and sentiment are developing fast, and an appeal to them, at present, meets with a hearty and ready response. This augurs well for Canada's future.
The calendar consists of twelve calendar cards, and on each is an event from Canadian history for every day in that month. Not only are the important events in our history thus orderly set forth, but portraits of leading figures in our history, with autographs, embellish these pages.
Too high praise cannot be bestowed on this valuable and patriotic piece of work.
'ANADIAN history has been enriched during the year 1896 by several important contributions. Three valuable volumes have just been published and call for notice in this issue.
The most important of these is Dr. Bourinot's "Canada," in the Story of the Nations series.* As a single-volume history of Canada this is undoubtedly the best that has yet been printed, and in it Dr. Bourinot is seen at his best--and it may be that in future years, when Canada shall have but his memory, this may be his best known work. He has throughout the volume preserved his well-known calm and judicial attitude; has treated the great events and men with impartiality and yet with enthusiasm. As thousands of these volumes will find their way into the libraries of Great Britain and the United States, Canada had much at stake in this work. But Dr. Bourinot has again done his duty towards his country, and nothing more could be expected or desired.
The introduction covers but fourteen pages, but is a history of Canada in itself. Let me quote a paragraph which will illustrate, also, the style of the author:
"It is the story of the Canadian Dominion, of its founders, explorers, missionaries, soldiers, and statesmen, that I shall attempt to relate briefly in the following pages, from the day the Breton sailor ascended the St. Lawrence to Hochelaga, until the formation of the confederation, which united the people of two distinct nationalities, and extends over so wide a region- so
far beyond the Acadia and Canada which France once called her own. But, that the story may be more intelligible from the beginning, it is necessary to give a bird's-eye view of the country whose history is contemporaneous with that of the United States, and whose territorial area from Cape Breton to Vancouver--the sentinel islands
of the Atlantic and Pacific approaches.
is hardly inferior to that of the federal republic."
Speaking of Dr. Bourinot's style, 'it may be said that it lacks the nervousness and epigrammatic brilliancy of a Carlisle, but it also lacks the dreariness and monotony of a Stubbs. His history is not so coloured as Parkman's, but is certainly more picturesque and more vivid than the work of our other
previous English writers of Canadian history. Compared with these, and with the average histories, the book is a masterpiece. The arrangement is chronological and yet not chronological; for example, Chapter XXVI. deals with the fur-traders, and chronicles the chief events in this connection from 1670 to 1885. Occasionally some point is thus topically considered. Further, greatest stress is laid on the leading men and the chief events; monotony and lifelessness are thus avoided and the personal and dramatic interests given more play. The two closing chapters are excellent. deals with "Canada as a Nation: Material and Intellectual Development --Political Rights"; the other is entitled "French Canada," and outlines admirably the characteristics of this picturesque part of Canada.
Sixty-two excellent illustrations, many of them of great historical value, add point to the author's story. This feature will add much to the popularity
The Story of Canada, by J. G. Bourinot, C.M.G., LL.D., D.C.L., Clerk of the House of Commons. Toronto: The Copp, Clark Co. Cloth, illustrated, 463 pp.