Puslapio vaizdai

infant damnation, but we must go deep- dollars and a prosperous shoe factory. er than habit and tradition for the As for the factory, he discovered springs of our action. Not since the within a year that since the death of Civil War have we as a nation explored his father its success had been due to our souls, sought the channels of our a new system of piece work, which being, tested our ultimate faith. This speeded up” the worker and gave the war has been no test. Its issues were profits to the proprietor. But there clear. They appealed to principles that seemed no way of changing the system we held firmly because we had inherited without ruining the business. As for them. It was easier to go in than to his wealth, it brought him new and stay out. Even our material prosperity, pleasing associates who were more polapparently, stood to gain, not to lose, ished and intelligent than he, and whose by entering the conflict. We made the life was so much more cheerful, instrucright choice, but it was not hard to tive, and interesting than his early exmake it. To be idealistic was easy. perience that he could only wish to be

I do not believe that our inheritance like them; especially when he saw that either of virtuous will or of practical they were far better citizens than his common sense will serve us long with- father, who, to tell the truth, lived very out renewal. The first is vehement in much for his own narrow interests. And propaganda, prohibition, and hysteric yet their ideas of pleasure and even of excess, but flags when a load of stern morality were quite different from what duty, national or international, is put he had been led to suppose were the upon it.

The second has no end and only proper principles on which to conaim but the making of a prosperous duct one's life, and they never went to America where the grubber and the church. He wanted to be honest, he grabber have much and others little.

wanted to be good; but neither how to It is useful, nay, indispensable, to the be honest in his factory nor how to be economic state, but beyond economics- good and yet a "good fellow” were and so much is beyond economics!- explained by the teachings of his youth. there is little health in it. If our ideal

For an unhappy year or two he tried ism is to remain as robust as our ma- to act like his father, believe as his terial prosperity, it must gain what mother, and be like his neighbors. In Franklin would have described as addition, in order to satisfy a somewhat basis of enlightened reason, or suffer uneasy conscience, he prepared to enter what Edwards would have called a con- politics on a platform of straight Amerversion-and, preferably, both.

icanism and the full dinner-pail.' Then Samuel's mother was a fine, but some- in one eventful week his workmen what rigorous, woman who brought him struck for an eight-hour day and shop up in the conviction that he had to do committees, his mother announced her right (by which she meant being hon- intention of bequeathing her share of the est and moral, and going to church on estate to the Anti-tobacco League, his Sundays) or shame would come upon best girl refused to marry him unless him. His father was

man whose he should become an Episcopalian, and “word was as good as his bond." He he was invited by the local boss to subtaught his boy that working hard and scribe for a “slush" fund or give up saving money were probably the most politics. important things in life, and that if you Samuel went to the Maine woods to paid your bills, were true to your word, catch trout and think over the situaand kept an eye upon shifty neighbors, tion. What he did finally is not told you were sure to be happy and suc- in the story. What he decided is, howcessful.

ever, of some significance. For, broodAt the age of fifty the father died ing over a dark pool in the spruces, he from hardening of the arteries, the re- concluded that each generation must sult of too few vacations, and the search out the foundations for its own mother became a rather morose mem- morality, and determine for itself the ber of the W: C. T. U. Samuel found worth and power of the ideals it prohimself now possessed of half a million claims. And so perhaps will America.



Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid



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. But it was in his library that Mr. practise in Arthabaska that the way Laurier passed his happiest hours. He opened into political life. The first Proread widely in the literature and his- vincial Legislature had been dissolved, tory of his own country and of the two and the general elections for the new countries from which Canada drew its House were to be held in June and July, inspiration. Garneau and Crémazie, 1871. The counties of Drummond and Bossuet and Molière, Hugo and Lamar- Arthabaska had been represented for tine, Burke and Sheridan and Fox, Ma- the previous four years by a Conservacaulay and Bright, Shakspere and tive, Edward Hemming, a DrummondBurns, Newman and Lamennais, were ville barrister. The Liberals of the two the companions of his evening hours. counties urged Mr. Laurier to contest His father's connection with the seigni- the seat. Though deeply interested in ory of Peter Pangman, the Northwest politics, and with a full share of a somefur-trader, drew his interest to the what fastidious ambition, he hesitated Western field, and his shelves soon held on account of the precarious state of his many prized narratives of travel and fur- health. Finally he undertook the concompany feuds beyond the Great Lakes. test, and though a series of painful The life and writings of Lincoln were hemorrhages hampered his campaign, another special interest. He had es- the popularity he had built up among caped being carried away by the enthu- both the French-speaking and the Ensiasm for the South which marked offi- glish-speaking Canadians, and particucial circles and the larger cities in Can- larly the Scots, of the constituency, ada during the Civil War, when South- stood him in good stead. While the Libern refugees swarmed in Montreal and erals throughout the province returned plotted border raids. He had pierced only a third of the House, Mr. Laurier below caricature and calumny to the was triumphantly elected for Drumrugged strength of the Union leader, mond-Arthabaska by over one thousand and held in highest honor his homespun majority. wit, his shrewd judgment, his magnani- The new House met in Quebec early mous patience. More than one shelf of in November. Its legislative tasks were his library was set apart for Lincolni- not arduous. The provincial legislaana.


OR thirty years Wilfrid Laurier made his home in the village of Arthabaskaville, or Arthabaska, as it

was later sensibly abbreviated. 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 LrummondArthabaska 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. 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.

tures were still groping to ascertain the Writing in 1876 to James Young of share of the field of activity which had Galt, Mr. Laurier refers to some of his fallen to them when the federal system reading in English history:

was adopted in 1867. The Conservative

administration in power was not agI am just finishing Tre elyan's Life of

gressive. At its head since 1867 had Macaulay.” Have you read it? It is a fine

been the Hon. P. J. 0. Chauveau. A book. I greatly admired Macaulay as a

precocious youth, a poet of rare workwriter and a public man, but I am delighted

manship, author of a novel of French with the private man. I have immediately,

Canada which all praised and few read, upon finishing reading the “Life of Macau

a glowing and somewhat flowery oralay,” begun to read anew his history, and

tor, M. Chauveau had been Superintenam now concluding the fourth volume. The

dent of Education for Canada East for history of England has for a foreigner like

the twelve years preceding confederamyself a charm which, I am sure, it has

tion. When, in 1867, the Hon. J. E. Caunot for one accustomed from his infancy to

chon, the hard-hitting veteran of Union English ideas and traditions. As you fol

politics, failed to form a cabinet below in Macaulay's pages that constant

cause of the unwillingness of Christostruggle between liberty and despotism and

pher Dunkin to serve under him, M. the slow and steady progress and at last

Chauveau was summoned to form the complete triumph of liberty, the student of

first provincial administration. His cabFrench history is struck with amazement.

inet comprised Gédéon Ouimet, J. 0. This is the reason why I admire you so

Beaubien, Charles Boucher de Bouchermuch, you Anglo-Saxons.

ville, Louis Archambault, George Irvine, It was little more than four years and Christopher Dunkin, best known to after Wilfrid Laurier had begun to fame as the most searching critic of confederation, who was succeeded after tongue, practise its own religion, re1869 by J. G. Robertson. Outside the tain its own customs, and enjoy its cabinet, and aside from the three fed- equal share of liberty and of the light eral ministers, Cartier, Langevin, and of the sun.” He found two outstanding Robitaille, who also held seats in the omissions in the Government's program Provincial House, the ablest man on the so far as political questions were congovernment side was Joseph-Adolphe cerned. It had failed to bring in a bill Chapleau. The ranks of the opposition to do away with the pernicious system were thin, and the men of outstanding of spreading elections out over weeks capacity and ex

or months, thus perperience among

mitting the Governthem few. Henri

ment of the day to Joly de Lotbinière,

issue writs first for Luther Hamilton

the seats it considHolton, and Téles

ered safe and to phore Fournier, all

concentrate its inof whom held seats

fluence later on the both at Ottawa

seats it considered and at Quebec,

in danger. It had were men of first

failed most conspicrate capacity.

cuously, despite the In this assembly

premier's long Mr. Laurier was not

study of educational long in making his

affairs, to propose mark. His conspicu

any improvement ous success in the

in the school sysgeneral election had

tem of the province. drawn wide atten

But the Governtion. His maiden

ment's greatest speech, on the reply

weakness, Mr Lauto the address,

rier continued, was more than justified

its failure on the inexpectations. It

dustrial side, its unwas acclaimed with

readiness to grapenthusiasm by his Richard Cartwright, Minister of Finance in

ple with the serious the Mackenzie Administration, 1873-78 colleagues, and

economic problems, frankly recognized

the backward state by his opponents in the House and in of agriculture, the stagnation of industhe press as marking the rise of a new try, the steady outward flow of the force in provincial politics.

young men and women of the province Mr. Laurier, as a member of the op- to the United States. With all the great position, was in duty bound to find the resources of which so much was heard, situation of the provinces less hopeful the people were in the position of Tanthan the ministerial speakers had talus, starving in sight of a sumptuous painted it. Yet he did not paint it table. Doubtless the ministry were not wholly black. On the political and social alone responsible for this bleeding of side there was much to be thankful for. the country's strength. Yet they might "Certainly,” he declared, "the fact is have sought to build up a national inone of which we can be justly proud dustry, to remove the humilitating conthat so many different races and so fession that after three centuries the many opposite creeds should find them

country was still unable to supply its selves gathered in this little corner of own wants, to go back, if need be, to Papiearth, and that our constitution should neau's policy: “We should buy nothing prove broad enough to leave them all from the metropolis.” The Government plenty of elbow-room, without friction should seek to bring in industrial immior danger of collision, and with the full- grants, master mechanics, and small est latitude to each to speak its own capitalists, the master miners of Wales and the north of England, the mechanics grace and persuasiveness of his manner of Alsace, the weavers of Flanders, and held high promise. the artisans of Germany, rather than It was, however, in the debate, in endeavoring to recruit solely agricul- 1871, on the abolition of dual representural immigration. The agricultural tation that Mr. Laurier most clearly population of Quebec, he acutely in- showed his strength. The constitutional sisted, would never be increased from issues involved were then as ever more outside. “Our climate is too severe, and congenial to him than economic questhe development of our lands too costly tions. His training as a lawyer, his and difficult. The children of the soil reading in the classics of French radiwill not be deterred by these obstacles, calism and English liberalism, and his but the stranger will simply pass position as a member of a minority rethrough our territory and locate on the lying on constitutional guaranties for rich prairies of the West." The French- the preservation of its rights, gave a Canadians themselves should take on a leading place in his thinking to considmore industrial character. “We are sur- erations of justice and of the legality rounded," he declared, "by a strong and in which justice was assumed to be envigorous race who are endowed with a shrined. devouring activity and have taken pos- The system of dual representation, session of the entire universe as their by which the same men could hold seats field of labor. As a French-Canadian, both in the Federal Parliament and in sir, I am pained to see my people eter- the legislature of their province, had nally excelled by our fellow-countrymen not been made a positive feature of the of British origin. We must frankly ac- confederation scheme. It had developed knowledge that down to the present we because no law forbade it and because have been left behind in the race. We of the dearth of men of first-rate calican admit this and admit it without ber. Each party was keen to be represhame, because the fact is explained by sented by its strongest men both at the purely political reasons which denote no federal and at the provincial capital. inferiority on our part: after the con- Sir John Macdonald, with his theoretiquest, the French-Canadians, desirous cal preference for a legislative rather of maintaining their national inheri- than a federal union of the dominion, tance intact, fell back upon themselves, and his practical desire to have his and kept up no relations with the out- hand on the provincial machine, was side world. The immediate result of particularly strong in support of the this policy was to keep them strangers dual system. It had its strong features, to the reforms which were constantly raising the level of capacity in the local taking place beyond their boundaries, legislatures, and in some cases conducand fatally to shut them up within the ing to harmony between federal and narrow circle of their own old views. provincial policy. Yet there were still On the other hand, the new blood which stronger grounds of objection on prinwas poured into the colony came from ciple, and despite the short sessions the most advanced country under the which were then the rule, the practical sun in point of trade and industry. inconvenience of adjusting the meetThey brought with them the civilization ings of Parliament and of legislature of their native land, and their strength was increasingly felt. was ceaselessly renewed by a steady In discussing the general question of current of immigration, which added constitutional limitations, Mr. Laurier not only to their numbers, but to their gave interesting evidence of the influstock of information and their ideas." ence on his thought of the social-con


Mr. Laurier's maiden speech doubt- tract doctrines of the older radical indiless had its share of party rhetoric and vidualist tradition: of an opposition member's licensed criticism; yet it was in matter a distinct

When a people accept a constitution, they achievement for a man of thirty, broad make the sacrifice of a portion of their in its sweep and remarkably free from liberty, a generous sacrifice by which 'each partizan recriminations, while the gives up something belonging to himself

« AnkstesnisTęsti »