Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics

Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics


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Project Gutenberg's Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics, by J. W. DafoeThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: Laurier: A Study in Canadian PoliticsAuthor: J. W. DafoeRelease Date: March 30, 2005 [EBook #15509]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK LAURIER: A STUDY IN CANADIAN ***-LAURIER: A STUDY IN CANADIAN POLITICSBy J. W. DAFOETHOMAS ALLEN PUBLISHER, TORONTOCopyright, Canada, 1922 by Thomas AllenPrinted in CanadaDEDICATION: TO E. H. MACKLIN IN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF A CONSTANT FRIENDSHIP.PREFACEThe four articles which make up this volume were originally published in successive issues of the Monthly Book Reviewof the Manitoba Free Press and are herewith assembled in book form in response to what appears to be a somewhatgeneral request that they be made available in a more permanent form.J. W. D.October 13 1922.CONTENTSPART 1. LAURIER: A STUDY IN CANADIAN POLITICS PART 2. LAURIER AND EMPIRE RELATIONSHIPS Part 3. FIFTEEN YEARS OF PREMIERSHIPLAURIER: A STUDY IN CANADIAN POLITICSTHE CLIMB TO POWER.THE life story of Laurier by Oscar D. Skelton is the official biography of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Official biographies of publicmen have their uses; they supply material for the definitive biography which in the case of a great ...



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Project Gutenberg's Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics, by J. W. Dafoe
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics
Author: J. W. Dafoe
Release Date: March 30, 2005 [EBook #15509]
Language: English
Copyright, Canada, 1922 by Thomas Allen Printed in Canada DEDICATION: TO E. H. MACKLIN IN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OFA CONSTANT FRIENDSHIP.
PREFACE The four articles which make up this volume were originally published in successive issues of the Monthly Book Review of the Manitoba Free Press and are herewith assembled in book form in response to what appears to be a somewhat general request that they be made available in a more permanent form. J. W. D. October 13 1922.
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THE life story of Laurier by Oscar D. Skelton is the official biography of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Official biographies of public men have their uses; they supply material for the definitive biography which in the case of a great man is not likely to be written by one who knew him in the flesh. An English public man, who was also a novelist and poet, wrote: "Ne'er of the living can the living judge, Too blind the affection or too fresh the grudge." The limitation is equally true in the case of one like Sir Wilfrid Laurier who, though dead, will be a factor of moment in our politics for at least another generation. Professor Skelton's book is interesting and valuable, but not conclusive. The first volume is a political history of Canada from the sixties until 1896, with Laurier in the setting at first inconspicuously but growing to greatness and leadership. For the fifteen years of premiership the biographer is concerned lest Sir Wilfrid should not get the fullest credit for whatever was achieved; while in dealing with the period after 1911, constituting the anti-climax of Laurier's career, Mr. Skelton is avowedly the alert and eager partisan, bound to find his hero right and all those who disagreed with him wrong. Sir Wilfrid Laurier is described in the preface as "the finest and simplest gentleman, the noblest and most unselfish man it has ever been my good fortune to know;" and the work is faithfully devoted to the elucidation of this theme. Men may fail to be heroes to their valets but they are more successful with their biographers. The final appraisement of Sir Wilfrid, to be written perhaps fifty years hence by some tolerant and impartial historian, will probably not be an echo of Prof. Skelton's judgment. It will perhaps put Sir Wilfrid higher than Prof. Skelton does and yet not quite so high; an abler man but one not quite so preternaturally good; a man who had affinities with Macchiavelli as well as with Sir Galahad. The Laurier of the first volume is an appealing, engaging and most attractive personality. There was about his earlier career something romantic and compelling. In almost one rush he passed from the comparative obscurity of a new member in 1874 to the leadership of the French Liberals in 1877; and then he suffered a decline which seemed to mark him as one of those political shooting stars which blaze in the firmament for a season and then go black; like Felix Geoffrion who, though saluted by Laurier in 1874 as the coming leader, never made any impress upon his times. A political accident, fortunate for him, opened the gates again to a career; and he set his foot upon a road which took him very far. The writer made acquaintance with Laurier in the Dominion session of 1884. He was then in his forty-third year; but in the judgment of many his career was over. His interest in politics was, apparently, of the slightest. He was deskmate to Blake, who carried on a tremendous campaign that session against the government's C. P. R. proposals. Laurier's political activities consisted chiefly of being an acting secretary of sorts to the Liberal leader. He kept his references in order; handed him Hansards and blue-books in turn; summoned the pages to clear away the impedimenta and to keep the glass of water replenished—little services which it was clear he was glad to do for one who engaged his ardent affection and admiration. There were memories in the house of Laurier's eloquence; but memories only. During this session he was almost silent. The tall, courtly figure was a familiar sight in the chamber and in the library—particularly in the library, where he could be found every day ensconced in some congenial alcove; but the golden voice was silent. It was known that his friends were concerned about his health. LAURIER AND THE RIEL AGITATION
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