The Canadian Commonwealth
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The Canadian Commonwealth

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Canadian Commonwealth, by Agnes C. LautThis 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.orgTitle: The Canadian CommonwealthAuthor: Agnes C. LautRelease Date: March 21, 2006 [eBook #18032]Language: English***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE CANADIAN COMMONWEALTH***E-text prepared by Al HainesTHE CANADIAN COMMONWEALTHbyAGNES C. LAUTAuthor ofLords of the North, Pathfinders of the West,Hudson's Bay Company, etc.IndianapolisThe Bobbs-Merrill CompanyPublishersCopyright 1915The Bobbs-Merrill CompanyCONTENTSCHAPTERI NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS II FOUNDATION FOR HOPE III THE TIE THAT BINDS IV AMERICANIZATION V WHY RECIPROCITY WAS REJECTED VI THECOMING OF THE ENGLISH VII THE COMING OF THE FOREIGNER VIII THE COMING OF THE ORIENTAL IX THE HINDU X WHAT PANAMA MEANS XI TOEUROPE BY HUDSON BAY XII SOME INDUSTRIAL PROBLEMS XIII HOW GOVERNED XIV THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE XV EMIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENTXVI DEFENSE XVII THE DOMAIN OF THE NORTH XVIII FINDING HERSELF INDEXTHE CANADIAN COMMONWEALTHCHAPTER INATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESSIAn empire the size of Europe setting out on her career of world history is a phenomenon of vast and deep enough importto stir to national consciousness the slumbering spirit of any people. Yet when you come to trace ...

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Canadian
Commonwealth, by Agnes C. Laut
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 www.gutenberg.org
Title: The Canadian Commonwealth
Author: Agnes C. Laut
Release Date: March 21, 2006 [eBook #18032]
Language: English
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG
EBOOK THE CANADIAN COMMONWEALTH***
E-text prepared by Al Haines
THE CANADIAN COMMONWEALTHby
AGNES C. LAUT
Author of
Lords of the North, Pathfinders of the West,
Hudson's Bay Company, etc.
Indianapolis
The Bobbs-Merrill Company
Publishers
Copyright 1915
The Bobbs-Merrill CompanyCONTENTS
CHAPTER
I NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS II FOUNDATION
FOR HOPE III THE TIE THAT BINDS IV
AMERICANIZATION V WHY RECIPROCITY WAS
REJECTED VI THE COMING OF THE ENGLISH
VII THE COMING OF THE FOREIGNER VIII THE
COMING OF THE ORIENTAL IX THE HINDU X
WHAT PANAMA MEANS XI TO EUROPE BY
HUDSON BAY XII SOME INDUSTRIAL
PROBLEMS XIII HOW GOVERNED XIV THE LIFE
OF THE PEOPLE XV EMIGRATION AND
DEVELOPMENT XVI DEFENSE XVII THE
DOMAIN OF THE NORTH XVIII FINDING
HERSELF INDEXTHE CANADIAN
COMMONWEALTH
CHAPTER I
NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS
I
An empire the size of Europe setting out on her
career of world history is a phenomenon of vast
and deep enough import to stir to national
consciousness the slumbering spirit of any people.
Yet when you come to trace when and where
national consciousness awakened, it is like
following a river back from the ocean to its
mountain springs. From the silt borne down on the
flood-tide you can guess the fertile plains watered
and far above the fertile plains, regions of eternal
snow and glacial torrent warring turbulently through
the adamantine rocks. You can guess the eternal
striving, the forward rush and the throwback that
have carved a way through the solid rocks; but
until you have followed the river to its source and
tried to stem its current you can not know.
So of peoples and nations.
Fifty years ago, as far as world affairs were
concerned, Japan did not exist. Came nationalconsciousness, and Japan rose like a star
dominating the Orient. A hundred years ago
Germany did not exist. Came national
consciousness welding chaotic principalities into
unity, and the mailed fist of the empire became a
menace before which Europe quailed. So of China
with the ferment of freedom leavening the whole.
So of the United States with the Civil War blending
into a union the diversities of a continent. When
you come to consider the birth of national
consciousness in Canada, you do not find the germ
of an ambition to dominate, as in Japan and
Germany. Nor do you find a fight for freedom.
Canada has always been free—free as the birds of
passage that winged above the canoe of the first
voyageur who pointed his craft up the St.
Lawrence for the Pacific; but what you do find from
the very first is a fight for national existence; and
when the fight was won, Canada arose like a
wrestler with consciousness of strength for new
destiny.
II
Go back to the beginning of Canada!
She was not settled by land-seekers. Neither was
she peopled by adventurers seeking gold. The first
settlers on the banks of the St. Lawrence came to
plant the Cross and propagate the Faith. True,
they found they could support their missions and
extend the Faith by the fur trade; and their gay
adventurers of the fur trade threaded every riverand lake from the St. Lawrence to the Columbia;
but, primarily, the lure that led the French to the St.
Lawrence was the lure of a religious ideal. So of
Ontario and the English provinces. Ontario was
first peopled by United Empire Loyalists, who
refused to give up their loyalty to the Crown and
left New England and the South, abandoning all
earthly possessions to begin life anew in the
backwoods of the Great Lakes country. The
French came pursuing an ideal of religion. The
English came pursuing an ideal of government. We
may smile at the excesses of both devotees—
French nuns, who swooned in religious ecstasy; old
English aristocrats, who referred to democracy as
"the black rot plague of the age"; but the fact
remains—these colonists came in unselfish pursuit
of ideals; and they gave of their blood and their
brawn and all earthly possessions for those ideals;
and it is of such stuff that the spirit of dauntless
nationhood is made. Men who build temples of
their lives for ideals do not cement national mortar
with graft. They build with integrity for eternity, not
time. Their consciousness of an ideal gives them a
poise, a concentration, a stability, a steadiness of
purpose, unknown to mad chasers after wealth.
Obstinate, dogged, perhaps tinged with the self-
superior spirit of "I am holier than thou"—they may
be; but men who forsake all for an ideal and
pursue it consistently for a century and a half
develop a stamina that enters into the very blood
of their race. It is a common saying even to this
day that Quebec is more Catholic than the Pope,
and Ontario more ultra-English than England; and
when the Canadian is twitted with being "colonial"and "crude," his prompt and almost proud answer
is that he "goes in more for athletics than
esthetics." "One makes men. The other may make
sissies."
With this germ spirit as the very beginning of
national consciousness in Canada, one begins to
understand the grim, rough, dogged determination
that became part of the race. Canada was never
intoxicated with that madness for Bigness that
seemed to sweep over the modern world. What
cared she whether her population stood still or not,
whether she developed fast or slow, provided she
kept the Faith and preserved her national integrity?
Flimsy culture had no place in her schools or her
social life. A solid basis of the three R's—then
educational frills if you like; but the solid basis first.
Worship of wealth and envy of material success
have almost no part in Canadian life; for the simple
reason that wealth and success are not the ideals
of the nation. Laurier, who is a poor man, and
Borden, who is only a moderately well-off man,
command more social prestige in Canada than any
millionaire from Vancouver to Halifax. If demos be
the spirit of the mob, then Canada has no faintest
tinge of democracy in her; but inasmuch as the
French colonists came in pursuit of a religious ideal
and the English colonists of a political ideal, if
democracy stand for freedom for the individual to
pursue his own ideal—then Canada is
supersaturated with that democracy. Freedom for
the individual to pursue his own ideal was the very
atmosphere in which Canada's national
consciousness was born.In the West a something more entered into the
national spirit. French fur-traders, wood-runners,
voyageurs had drifted North and West, men of
infinite resources, as much at home with a frying-
pan over a camp-fire as over a domestic hearth,
who could wrest a living from life anywhere. English
adventurers of similar caliber had drifted in from
Hudson Bay. These little lords in a wilderness of
savages had scattered west as far as the Rockies,
south to California. They knew no law but the law
of a strong right arm and kept peace among the
Indians only by a dauntless courage and rough and
ready justice. They could succeed only by a good
trade in furs, and they could obtain a good trade in
furs only by treating the Indians with equity. Every
man who plunged into the fur wilderness took
courage in one hand and his life in the other. If he
lost his courage, he lost his life. Indian fray,
turbulent rapids, winter cold took toll of the weak
and the feckless. Nature accepts no excuses. The
man who defaulted in manhood was wiped out—
sucked down by the rapids, buried in winter
storms, absorbed into the camps of Indian
degenerates. The men who stayed upon their feet
had the stamina of a manhood in them that could
not be extinguished. It was a wilderness edition of
that dauntlessness which brought the Loyalists to
Ontario and the French devotees to Quebec. This,
too, made for a dogged, strong, obstinate race. At
the time of the fall of French power at Quebec in
1759 there were about two thousand of these
wilderness hunters in the West. Fifty years later by
way of Hudson Bay came Lord Selkirk's Settlers—Orkneymen and Highlanders, hardy, keen and
dauntless as their native rock-bound isles.
These four classes were the primary first
ingredients that went into the making of Canada's
national consciousness and each of the four
classes was the very personification of strength,
purpose, courage, freedom.
III
But Destiny plays us strange tricks. When Quebec
fell in 1759, New France passed under the rule of
that English and Protestant race which she had
been fighting for two centuries; and when the
American colonies won their independence twenty
years later and the ultra-English Loyalists trekked
in thousands across the boundary to what are now
Montreal and Toronto and Cobourg, there came
under one government two races that had fought
each other in raid and counter-raid for two
centuries—alien and antagonistic in religion and
speech. It is only in recent years under the guiding
hand of Sir Wilfred Laurier that the ancient
antagonism has been pushed off the boards.
The War of 1812 probably helped Canada's
national spirit more than it hurt it. It tested the
French Canadian and found him loyal to the core;
loyal, to be sure, not because he loved England
more but rather because he loved the Americans
less. He felt surer of religious freedom under
English rule, which guaranteed it to him, than