Puslapio vaizdai

secreted conveniently in his cell, and the choice purl which Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness drank in Miss Sally Brass's kitchen. We hear War

rington's great voice calling for beer, we smell the fragrant fumes of burning rum and lemon-peel when Mr. Micawber brews punch, we see the foam on the "Genuine Stunning" which the child David calls for at the public house. No writer except Peacock treats his characters, high and low, as royally as does Dickens; and Peacock, although British publishers keep issuing his novels in new and charming editions, is little read on this side of the sea. Moreover, he is an advocate of strong drink, which is very reprehensible, and deprives him of candor as completely as if he had been a teetotaler. We feel and resent the bias of his mind; and although he describes with humor that pleasant middle period, "after the Jacquerie was down, and before the march of mind was up," yet the only one of his stories which is innocent of speciousness is "The Misfortunes of Elphin.”

Now, to the logically minded, "The Misfortunes of Elphin" is a temperance tract. The disaster which ruins the country-side is the result of shameful drunkenness. The reproaches leveled by Prince Elphin at Seithenyn ap Seithyn are sterner and more deeply deserved than the reproaches leveled by King Henry at Falstaff; yet the tale rocks and reels with Seithenyn's potations. There are drunkards whom we can conceive of as sober, but he is not one of them. There are sinners who can be punished or pardoned, but he is not one of them. As he is incapable of reform, so is he immune from retribution. Out of the dregs of his folly ooze the slow words of his wisdom. Nature befriends him because he is a natural force, and man submits to him because he is fulfilling his natural election. The good and the wicked fret about him, and grow old in the troublesome process; but he remains unchangeably, immutably drunk. "Wine is my medicine," he says with large simplicity, "and my measure is a little more."

If ever the young prohibitionist

strays into the wine cellar of Seithenyn ap Seithyn, he will have a shell-shock. It may even be that his presence will sour the casks, as the presence of a woman is reputed to sour the casks in the great caves of the Gironde, where wine ripens slowly, acquiring merit in silence and seclusion like a Buddhist saint, and as sensitive as a Buddhist saint to the perilous proximity of the feminine. This ancient and reasonable tradition is but one phase of the ancient and reasonable hostility between intoxicants and the sober sex, which dates perhaps from the time when Roman women were forbidden to taste their husbands' wine, but were fed on sweet syrups, like warm sodafountain beverages, to the ruin of their health and spirits. Small wonder if they handed down to their great-granddaughters a legitimate antagonism to pleasures they were not permitted to share, and if their remote descendants still cherish a dim, resentful consciousness of hurt. It was the lurking ghost of a dead tyranny which impelled an American woman to write to President Roosevelt, reproving him for having proposed a toast to Mr. John Hay's daughter on her wedding day. "Think," she said, "of the effect on your friends, on your children, on your immortal soul, of such a thoughtless act.”

Nomadic tribes-the vigilant ones who looked well ahead-wisely forbade the cultivation of the vine. Their leaders knew that if men made wine, they would want to stay at home and drink it. The prohibition-bred youth, if he is to remain faithful to the customs of his people, had better not cultivate too sedulously the great literature, smelling of hop-fields and saturated with the juice of the grape. Every step of the way is distracting and dangerous. When I was a school-girl I was authoritatively bidden-only authority could have impelled me to strengthen my errant soul by reading the "Areopagitica." There I found this amazing sentence: "They are not skilful considerers of human things who imagine to remove sin by removing the matter of sin."

But, then, Milton wrote "L'Allegro."

Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier


This great statesman's service in cleansing Canada's political life of sordidness and sectionalism can be appreciated only after reading such an account as this of public life as Laurier found it when he entered the arena back in the sixties.


IN the Canada of the sixties a young man's fancies lightly turned to thoughts of politics. Public life dominated the interest of the general public and stirred the ambition of the abler men in far greater measure than is true in these days, when business makes a rival appeal. Particularly in Lower Canada a political career was the normal and expected objective of the majority of the young men of education and capacity.

From boyhood days Wilfrid Laurier had been keenly interested in public affairs. His student apprenticeship and his first years of practice in Montreal gave an opportunity for forming political connections and taking a part in public controversies which strongly confirmed his early leanings. Now as editor of the chief democratic journal of the Eastern Townships, he was a chartered guide of public opinion. His law practice brought him into close contact with all parts of the district, and before five years had passed he was marked as the destined standard-bearer of the Liberals of the county.

Wilfrid Laurier was born in the year that Upper and Lower Canada were yoked together in uneasy fellowship. He had just begun the practice of law at Arthabaskaville when the union of the two Canadas was dissolved and the wider federation of all the mainland provinces was achieved. It was in the Canada of the union era that the stage was set and the players trained for the comedies and the tragedies, the melodrama and the vaudeville, of confederation politics.

The stage was not a large one. The province of Canada was just emerging from its years of pioneer struggles and backwoods isolation. Its scant million people seemed to count for little in the work of the world. Neither Great Britain nor France nor the United States gave them more than a passing thought. Even with the other provinces of British North America they had little contact; no road or railway bound them. Until well on in the union period each region had closer relations with the adjoining States than with its sister provinces, Upper Canada with "York" State, Lower Canada with New Hampshire and Vermont, and the Maritime provinces with Maine and Massachusetts.

Yet if it was not large, the provincial stage witnessed its full share of the dramatic motives and moments of political life. Here experiments were worked out in the organization of government and of parties, in the relation of race with race, in the connection between church and state, and in the linking of colony and empire, which deeply influenced the development of the future dominion and were not without interest to the world beyond.

In the words of Mr. Laurier, in an unpublished fragment of a work he long planned to write had fate given him leisure, the political history of Canada under the union:

A new era began with the union. In this new era there was found nothing of that which had given the past its attraction, neither the great feats of arms to save the native soil from invasion, nor the intrepid journeys of the explorers led on and

on by an unquenchable thirst for the unknown, nor the journeys, more intrepid still, of the missionaries, everywhere marking the path for the explorers with their blood. The very parliamentary battles on which henceforth the attention of the nation was to be concentrated no longer bore the striking impress which had been stamped on the parliamentary struggles after the conquest by the prestige of those who took part in them, the greatness of the cause which was defended, and the bloody catastrophe which was their out


These pages may be colorless, but they are not barren. They recall an epoch which, in spite of failures, was on the whole fruitful, and in which the patriot's eye may follow with legitimate pride the calm, powerful, and salutary influence of free institutions.

The primary task of the forties was the winning and consolidation of responsible government. Governor after governor and tenant after tenant of Downing Street sought to set narrow bounds to the concession that had been found unavoidable, but in vain. Robert Baldwin, "the man of one idea," leader of the Upper Canada Reformers, and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, leader, in Papineau's enforced absence, of the Lower Canada Liberals, or Patriotes, stood firm in their insistence that complete control of the domestic affairs of the province must be conceded to a body of ministers responsible to parliament and chosen from its dominant parties. Sydenham fought their demands, but by making himself the leader of a party majority in the Assembly played into the hands of those who insisted that party majorities should rule. Bagot, less assertive in temper, made some concessions of intention and more through the accident of illness. Metcalfe, sent out by the Colonial Office as the last bulwark of authority, breasted the tide with success for a year or two, but at last was compelled to recognize his failure. Elgin, the last of the governors of the forties, gave formal recognition of the victory of the upholders of selfgovernment by summoning LaFontaine and Baldwin to form the ministry of 1848.

On this question of responsible government the conclusions of Mr. Laurier, embodied in the same pregnant fragment, are of particular interest because of his early relations with the Rouges and the exponents of the Papineau tradition, and his own long experience of the working of the system:

Thus Lord Durham's idea had been realized, but it had been realized only gradually. The theory of Lord John Russell continued to be the theory of Lord Sydenham, of Sir Charles Metcalfe, and of the Colonial Office, until Lord Elgin, who, to the generous spirit of Lord Durham added a capacity perhaps more solid, grasped the great reformer's idea and applied it with as much freedom as he himself would have done.

If, to the England of 1840, the idea of ministerial responsibility appeared incompatible with the colonial status, the colony on this point was more advanced than the mother country.

In Upper Canada a large group, more important even for talent than for numbers, had long been demanding the responsibility of ministers to the Assembly. The men of this party had found in Lord Durham's Report the expression of the ideas which they had been professing for so long. They had voted without hesitation for the proposal for union, because they had hoped that Lord Durham's Report would be followed in its entirety. Nevertheless, it was not in Upper Canada, nor in the British population (of Lower Canada) that the idea of ministerial responsibility applied to the government of the colonies had seen the light for the first time. The man who was the first to affirm the principle of ministerial responsibility in the government of the colonies was Pierre Bédard, and that as early as 1809. Nevertheless, this pregnant suggestion had not been followed. A few years later, Bédard had withdrawn from the arena and Mr. Papineau had entered it. The idea enunciated by Bédard was set aside, to give place to another much bolder.

In all the long struggles that Mr. Papineau carried on with the government, he does not seem ever to have dreamed that the concession of constitutional government might be a sufficient reform and that he himself might become the minister in

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control. All his efforts were constantly directed toward establishing the supremacy of the Assembly over the executive power, and toward making the executive power the executor of the will of the Assembly.

Responsible government meant party government. Only through party organization could there be assured a stable and united majority to back the ministry in power, and a definite opposition to criticize that ministry and stand prepared to provide an alternative administration. And yet the very winning of responsible government, and the union of the provinces which was bound up with it, made it extremely difficult to find or keep stable and effective political parties.

The weakness and instability of parties in this period had two roots. One was the union of the provinces-a union which brought together extreme

ly diverse elements, and yet was not sufficiently complete to merge and fuse them. Union made it necessary to organize a majority not in one region alone, but in the whole province, and to organize it out of parties which hitherto had had little contact or little in common. At the same time the incomplete and semi-federal character of the union prevented the complete assimilation which the smooth working of the party machinery demanded. From the beginning there had been a recognition of continuing separateness in the provision that each part of the province, irrespective of population, should be given half the number of representatives in the house. As time went on, this separateness was confirmed by the practice of passing laws applying only to one region, by holding the sessions of parliament alternately in Quebec and in Toronto, by the inclusion in the cabinet of both an Attorney-General West

and an Attorney-General East, and by the custom of a double-barreled leadership, two "premiers," LaFontaine-Baldwin, Macdonald-Cartier, Brown-Dorion. It was inevitable in such circumstances that any union of parties from Canada East and Canada West, as Lower Canada and Upper Canada respectively were termed after 1841, should be not a complete merging, but only a coalition of more or less stability.

The other source of party weakness lay in the breaking-up of the existing parties in each region because of the achievement of old aims or the emergence of new issues. The Tory parties, the defenders of the established order, were broken up by defeat, by the steady destruction of one after another of the planks in the platform upon which they had stood and fought. The control of colonial affairs by the mother country, the authority of the governor and his preordained advisers within the province, the active share in legislation of the narrow, nominated legislative council, the endowment of a state church in Upper Canada by the grant of vast areas of crown lands, the maintenance in Lower Canada of that survival of medieval feudalism, seigniorial tenure, -these and other principles of the old ascendancy parties went by the board in the late forties and early fifties. To their opponents victory proved almost as disintegrating as defeat. The Reformers in Upper Canada, the Patriote, Liberal, or Canadien party in Lower Canada, had within their ranks diverse elements which only opposition to a common foe could hold together. Once victory, or an instalment of victory, was won, these latent differences became apparent. The moderate men who were content to abide in a half-way house and the radicals who were eager to push on to the end of the vanishing road now parted company. The experience gained in actual administration brought out differences of temperament and interest. New economic issues, canal and railway projects, tax and tariff questions, forced new alinements. The outcome was curiously parallel to the reorganization of parties which at the same time was going on in Great Britain. In both cases Tories were mel

lowing into Conservatives, and the victorious opposition breaking up into Whigs and Radicals, or into moderate Liberals and Clear Grits, or Rouges.

In Canada West Robert Baldwin was the leader and the best representative of the moderate Reformers. Scrupulously fair, sturdily independent, he was prepared to fight without rest or truce for the right as he saw it, but equally prepared to find the right on most political and economic issues midway between the extreme positions. He fought until he had achieved responsible government, but he was unwilling to use the new powers to secure all the sweeping changes his more impatient followers demanded. The malcontents were led at first by Dr. Rolph and William Lyon Mackenzie, of the left wing of the old Reform party; but later they drew to themselves new men like William Macdougall, disappointed Tories like Malcolm Cameron, and latest and greatest, George Brown, a powerful journalist and tribune, newly come from Scotland. The Clear Grits, as these uncompromising stalwarts came to be known, were, in the first place, more democratic than the Baldwin Reformers, insisting on a widely extended suffrage, vote by ballot, and the abolition of property qualifications for members. Unlike Baldwin, who looked wholly to England for his political inspiration, they were inclined to find the United States the last word in democracy, and particularly, when disillusioned by discovering that even Liberals when in office could be arbitrary and highhanded, they sought to lessen the power of governments by extending the elective principle, proposing to elect not merely the legislative council or upper house, but the governor and the chief administrative officials. A third point of difference lay in their more sweeping insistence on Canadian autonomy. A still more marked characteristic was their strong anti-clerical bias, which first found vent in their opposition to the endowment and establishment of the Church of England, but later, under George Brown's impulse, turned into suspicion and denunciation of Roman Catholic domination of the province by "priest-ridden French-Canadians.”

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