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infant damnation, but we must go deeper than habit and tradition for the springs of our action. Not since the Civil War have we as a nation explored our souls, sought the channels of our being, tested our ultimate faith. This war has been no test. Its issues were clear. They appealed to principles that we held firmly because we had inherited them. It was easier to go in than to stay out. Even our material prosperity, apparently, stood to gain, not to lose, by entering the conflict. We made the right choice, but it was not hard to make it. To be idealistic was easy.
I do not believe that our inheritance either of virtuous will or of practical common sense will serve us long without renewal. The first is vehement in propaganda, prohibition, and hysteric excess, but flags when a load of stern duty, national or international, is put upon it. The second has no end and aim but the making of a prosperous America where the grubber and the grabber have much and others little. It is useful, nay, indispensable, to the economic state, but beyond economicsand so much is beyond economics!there is little health in it. If our idealism is to remain as robust as our material prosperity, it must gain what Franklin would have described as a basis of enlightened reason, or suffer what Edwards would have called a conversion-and, preferably, both.
Samuel's mother was a fine, but somewhat rigorous, woman who brought him up in the conviction that he had to do right (by which she meant being honest and moral, and going to church on Sundays) or shame would come upon him. His father was a man whose "word was as good as his bond." He taught his boy that working hard and saving money were probably the most important things in life, and that if you paid your bills, were true to your word, and kept an eye upon shifty neighbors, you were sure to be happy and successful.
At the age of fifty the father died from hardening of the arteries, the result of too few vacations, and the mother became a rather morose member of the W: C. T. U. Samuel found himself now possessed of half a million
dollars and a prosperous shoe factory. As for the factory, he discovered within a year that since the death of his father its success had been due to a new system of piece work, which "speeded up" the worker and gave the profits to the proprietor. But there seemed no way of changing the system without ruining the business. As for his wealth, it brought him new and pleasing associates who were more polished and intelligent than he, and whose life was so much more cheerful, instructive, and interesting than his early experience that he could only wish to be like them; especially when he saw that they were far better citizens than his father, who, to tell the truth, lived very much for his own narrow interests. And yet their ideas of pleasure and even of morality were quite different from what he had been led to suppose were the only proper principles on which to conduct one's life, and they never went to church. He wanted to be honest, he wanted to be good; but neither how to be honest in his factory nor how to be good and yet a "good fellow" were explained by the teachings of his youth.
For an unhappy year or two he tried to act like his father, believe as his mother, and be like his neighbors. In addition, in order to satisfy a somewhat uneasy conscience, he prepared to enter politics on a platform of straight Americanism and the full dinner-pail. Then in one eventful week his workmen struck for an eight-hour day and shop committees, his mother announced her intention of bequeathing her share of the estate to the Anti-tobacco League, his best girl refused to marry him unless he should become an Episcopalian, and he was invited by the local boss to subscribe for a "slush" fund or give up politics.
Samuel went to the Maine woods to catch trout and think over the situation. What he did finally is not told in the story. What he decided is, however, of some significance. For, brooding over a dark pool in the spruces, he concluded that each generation must search out the foundations for its own morality, and determine for itself the worth and power of the ideals it proclaims. And so perhaps will America.
Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier
By OSCAR DOUGLAS SKELTON
In this instalment the author covers the period of Sir Wilfrid Laurier's career when he entered the Quebec Assembly, where he soon distinguished himself. Canada was at the critical period of its political and national development. The fight for dual representation was the big issue of these years. The Liberal party faced a crisis.
OR thirty years Wilfrid Laurier made his home in the village of Arthabaskaville, or Arthabaska, as it was later sensibly abbrevi
ated. The early years of his life in the Townships were years of quiet happiness, of successful work, and pleasant leisure. Country air and the skilful care of the local physician, Dr. Poisson, soon brought back a measure of strength. Mr. Laurier's health never ceased to be a matter of concern; he was well past middle age before any insurance company would risk a policy on his life. Only an ordered and abstemious way of living kept the shadow averted.
On first coming to Arthabaska, Mr. Laurier formed a partnership with Mr. Crépeau, which proved of brief duration. He then joined forces with Mr. Edouard Richard, who is best known as the historian of the Acadians. When Mr. Richard was elected as member in the Federal House for Megantic, and took up his residence in that constiuency, Mr. Laurier, in 1874, asked Joseph Lavergne to join him. The partnership proved both enduring and congenial, ending only when Mr. Lavergne, who had been member for DrummondArthabaska from 1887 to 1897, went on the bench in the latter year. Joseph Lavergne, it may be noted, was followed as member for the county by his brother Louis, whose appointment as senator in 1910 gave occasion for the fateful byeelection of Drummond-Arthabaska.
The law practice flourished. Both in the judicial seat and on circuit the services of young Laurier were greatly in demand. It was a litigious neighborhood, and the partners frequently had more difficulty in inducing their clients to settle their disputes out of court than in finding suits to plead. The cases were
not of great moment, a family quarrel over a will, a neighbor's line-fence dispute, a damage suit against a railway; but whether little or much was at stake, Mr. Laurier greatly enjoyed the grappling of minds and the joustings in the court-room. Fees were not high. It was ten years before his income rose to two thousand a year, and the largest income he ever enjoyed while in practice was five thousand; but in Arthabaska, and in the seventies and eighties, five thousand, or even two, was wealth unquestioned.
Law did not absorb all Mr. Laurier's time or interest. For a time he returned to journalism, acting as editor of "Le Journal d'Arthabaska," founded in 1872 by his friend Ernest Pacaud, later editor of the leading Liberal newspaper in Quebec, "L'Electeur." Even with this fresh duty there was leisure for living in Arthabaska, and both the desire and the means to live. Although the town had only three thousand people, it was a literary and artistic center of no little moment. A community that produced jovial wits like his brother lawyer, Louis-Edouard Pacaud, such poets as Adolphe Poisson, musicians as Roméo Poisson, and later sculptors like Philippe Hébert, and painters like Suzor Coté, was vigorously alive; the great cities had not yet drained the country-side. An evening passed in talk and song or in a rubber of whist in such company was not soon forgotten. forgotten. The woods and hills about lured to many a quiet ramble, or to a hunt for partridge. The local militia offered another outlet. Mr. Laurier became ensign in 1868. His company was called out for service during the Fenian Raid of 1870, though it did not have an opportunity to share in the brief skirmishes on the Townships borders.
But it was in his library that Mr. Laurier passed his happiest hours. He read widely in the literature and history of his own country and of the two countries from which Canada drew its inspiration. Garneau and Crémazie, Bossuet and Molière, Hugo and Lamartine, Burke and Sheridan and Fox, Macaulay and Bright, Shakspere and Burns, Newman and Lamennais, were the companions of his evening hours. His father's connection with the seigniory of Peter Pangman, the Northwest fur-trader, drew his interest to the Western field, and his shelves soon held many prized narratives of travel and furcompany feuds beyond the Great Lakes. The life and writings of Lincoln were another special interest. He had escaped being carried away by the enthusiasm for the South which marked official circles and the larger cities in Canada during the Civil War, when Southern refugees swarmed in Montreal and plotted border raids. He had pierced. below caricature and calumny to the rugged strength of the Union leader, and held in highest honor his homespun wit, his shrewd judgment, his magnanimous patience. More than one shelf of his library was set apart for Lincolni
Writing in 1876 to James Young of Galt, Mr. Laurier refers to some of his reading in English history:
I am just finishing Tre elyan's "Life of Macaulay." Have you read it? It is a fine book. I greatly admired Macaulay as a writer and a public man, but I am delighted with the private man. I have immediately, upon finishing reading the "Life of Macaulay," begun to read anew his history, and am now concluding the fourth volume. The history of England has for a foreigner like myself a charm which, I am sure, it has not for one accustomed from his infancy to English ideas and traditions. As you follow in Macaulay's pages that constant struggle between liberty and despotism and the slow and steady progress and at last complete triumph of liberty, the student of French history is struck with amazement. This is the reason why I admire you so much, you Anglo-Saxons.
It was little more than four years after Wilfrid Laurier had begun to
practise in Arthabaska that the way opened into political life. The first Provincial Legislature had been dissolved, and the general elections for the new House were to be held in June and July, 1871. The counties of Drummond and Arthabaska had been represented for the previous four years by a Conservative, Edward Hemming, a Drummondville barrister. The Liberals of the two counties urged Mr. Laurier to contest the seat. Though deeply interested in politics, and with a full share of a somewhat fastidious ambition, he hesitated on account of the precarious state of his health. Finally he undertook the contest, and though a series of painful hemorrhages hampered his campaign, the popularity he had built up among both the French-speaking and the English-speaking Canadians, and particularly the Scots, of the constituency, stood him in good stead. While the Liberals throughout the province returned only a third of the House, Mr. Laurier was triumphantly elected for Drummond-Arthabaska by over one thousand majority.
The new House met in Quebec early in November. Its legislative tasks were not arduous. The provincial legislatures were still groping to ascertain the share of the field of activity which had fallen to them when the federal system was adopted in 1867. The Conservative administration in power was not aggressive. At its head since 1867 had been the Hon. P. J. O. Chauveau. A precocious youth, a poet of rare workmanship, author of a novel of French Canada which all praised and few read, a glowing and somewhat flowery orator, M. Chauveau had been Superintendent of Education for Canada East for the twelve years preceding confederation. When, in 1867, the Hon. J. E. Cauchon, the hard-hitting veteran of Union politics, failed to form a cabinet because of the unwillingness of Christopher Dunkin to serve under him, M. Chauveau was summoned to form the first provincial administration. His cabinet comprised Gédéon Ouimet, J. O. Beaubien, Charles Boucher de Boucherville, Louis Archambault, George Irvine, and Christopher Dunkin, best known to fame as the most searching critic of
confederation, who was succeeded after 1869 by J. G. Robertson. Outside the cabinet, and aside from the three federal ministers, Cartier, Langevin, and Robitaille, who also held seats in the Provincial House, the ablest man on the government side was Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau. The ranks of the opposition were thin, and the men of outstanding capacity and experience among them few. Henri Joly de Lotbinière, Luther Hamilton Holton, and Télesphore Fournier, all of whom held seats both at Ottawa and at Quebec, were men of firstrate capacity.
In this assembly Mr. Laurier was not long in making his mark. His conspicuous success in the general election had drawn wide attention. His maiden speech, on the reply to the address, more than justified expectations. It was acclaimed with enthusiasm by his colleagues, and frankly recognized
tongue, practise its own religion, retain its own customs, and enjoy its equal share of liberty and of the light of the sun." He found two outstanding omissions in the Government's program so far as political questions were concerned. It had failed to bring in a bill to do away with the pernicious system of spreading elections out over weeks
by his opponents in the House and in the press as marking the rise of a new force in provincial politics.
Mr. Laurier, as a member of the opposition, was in duty bound to find the situation of the provinces less hopeful than the ministerial speakers had painted it. Yet he did not paint it wholly black. On the political and social side there was much to be thankful for. "Certainly," he declared, "the fact is one of which we can be justly proud that so many different races and so many opposite creeds should find themselves gathered in this little corner of earth, and that our constitution should prove broad enough to leave them all plenty of elbow-room, without friction or danger of collision, and with the fullest latitude to each to speak its own
or months, thus permitting the Government of the day to issue writs first for the seats it considered safe and to concentrate its influence later on the seats it considered in danger.
It had failed most conspiccuously, despite the premier's long study of educational affairs, to propose any improvement in the school system of the province. But the Government's greatest weakness, Mr Laurier continued, was its failure on the industrial side, its unreadiness to grapple with the serious economic problems, the backward state of agriculture, the stagnation of industry, the steady outward flow of the young men and women of the province to the United States. With all the great resources of which so much was heard, the people were in the position of Tantalus, starving in sight of a sumptuous table. Doubtless the ministry were not alone responsible for this bleeding of the country's strength. Yet they might have sought to build up a national industry, to remove the humilitating confession that after three centuries the country was still unable to supply its own wants, to go back, if need be, to Papineau's policy: "We should buy nothing from the metropolis." The Government should seek to bring in industrial immigrants, master mechanics, and small capitalists, the master miners of Wales
and the north of England, the mechanics of Alsace, the weavers of Flanders, and the artisans of Germany, rather than endeavoring to recruit solely agricultural immigration. The agricultural population of Quebec, he acutely insisted, would never be increased from outside. "Our climate is too severe, and the development of our lands too costly and difficult. The children of the soil will not be deterred by these obstacles, but the stranger will simply pass through our territory and locate on the rich prairies of the West." The FrenchCanadians themselves should take on a more industrial character. "We are surrounded," he declared, "by a strong and vigorous race who are endowed with a devouring activity and have taken possession of the entire universe as their field of labor. As a French-Canadian, sir, I am pained to see my people eternally excelled by our fellow-countrymen of British origin. We must frankly acknowledge that down to the present we have been left behind in the race. We can admit this and admit it without shame, because the fact is explained by purely political reasons which denote no inferiority on our part: after the conquest, the French-Canadians, desirous of maintaining their national inheritance intact, fell back upon themselves, and kept up no relations with the outside world. The immediate result of this policy was to keep them strangers to the reforms which were constantly taking place beyond their boundaries, and fatally to shut them up within the narrow circle of their own old views. On the other hand, the new blood which was poured into the colony came from the most advanced country under the sun in point of trade and industry. They brought with them the civilization of their native land, and their strength was ceaselessly renewed by a steady current of immigration, which added not only to their numbers, but to their stock of information and their ideas."
grace and persuasiveness of his manner held high promise.
It was, however, in the debate, in 1871, on the abolition of dual representation that Mr. Laurier most clearly showed his strength. The constitutional issues involved were then as ever more congenial to him than economic questions. His training as a lawyer, his reading in the classics of French radicalism and English liberalism, and his position as a member of a minority relying on constitutional guaranties for the preservation of its rights, gave a leading place in his thinking to considerations of justice and of the legality in which justice was assumed to be enshrined.
Mr. Laurier's maiden speech doubtless had its share of party rhetoric and of an opposition member's licensed criticism; yet it was in matter a distinct achievement for a man of thirty, broad in its sweep and remarkably free from partizan recriminations, while the
The system of dual representation, by which the same men could hold seats both in the Federal Parliament and in the legislature of their province, had not been made a positive feature of the confederation scheme. It had developed because no law forbade it and because of the dearth of men of first-rate caliber. Each party was keen to be represented by its strongest men both at the federal and at the provincial capital. Sir John Macdonald, with his theoretical preference for a legislative rather than a federal union of the dominion, and his practical desire to have his hand on the provincial machine, was particularly strong in support of the dual system. It had its strong features, raising the level of capacity in the local legislatures, and in some cases conducing to harmony between federal and provincial policy. Yet there were still stronger grounds of objection on principle, and despite the short sessions which were then the rule, the practical inconvenience of adjusting the meetings of Parliament and of legislature was increasingly felt.
In discussing the general question of constitutional limitations, Mr. Laurier gave interesting evidence of the influence on his thought of the social-contract doctrines of the older radical individualist tradition:
When a people accept a constitution, they make the sacrifice of a portion of their liberty, a generous sacrifice by which 'each gives up something belonging to himself