The Future Relations of England and her Colonies

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The Future Relations of England and her Colonies
G. R. Parkin
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THE FUTURE RELATIONS OF ENGLAND AND HER COLONIES. Mr. G. R. Parkin at the Institute. Mr. G. R. Parkin, of Fredericton, delivered the second lecture of the Institute course last evening to an audience which was large, when the unpleasant character of the weather is taken into account. Mr. Parkin was introduced to the audience by the President, Mr. I. A. Jack. Mr. Parkin’s lecture was an able and eloquent effort, and was frequently and heartily applauded. Mr. Parkin commenced by saying that the time had come when the relations between England and her colonies had to be considered, it being felt that their present attitude towards each other could not be preserved for any great length of time. He then proceeded to discuss the two alternatives which presented themselves with respect to Canada – annexation to the United States or closer union with the Empire by Imperial Federation. Discussing the first of these alternatives, he said: -- An interesting illustration of the depth and permanence of the loyalty which our institutions inspire is furnished by a fact which has attracted a good deal of attention, viz., that thousands of our young men have gone to the United States to better their fortunes. What I say I leave open to the correction of wider observation, but I believe that it is substantially true. I have known many of these young men. I have never known one who did not continue to profess a preference for British over American institutions, social or political. The sentiments which I have constantly heard expressed have led me to firmly believe, that if so deplorable an event as a collision with the United States should ever occur we would see a landing of Loyalists on our shores such as would cast into the shade even the glory of 1783. The alternative, which is at times presented to us as a possible future for Canada, is connection with the United States. No one now ventures to bring forward in support of this proposition any argument based on the superior freedom or excellence of American political institutions. The day for that is past. We can assert, without fear of contradiction, that the condition of the self-governing colonies of England finds no parallel in the world in making government an immediate reflection of the popular will, and so giving the utmost possible freedom and weight of influence to the individual citizens. The friction caused by the complications and anomalies handed down from the past, which often clog the operation of representative institutions in the mother land and which can only with safety be removed gradually, have no existence here. Again, when Earl Dufferin told an American audience that Canadians would not breathe freely in a country where the Executive was placed for a time beyond the reach of the popular will and was not under the constant supervision of the legislative bodies, he hinted at a great difference in favor of our form of government, which thoughtful Americans themselves are now among the first to admit. If the government of any self-ruling dependency of England is bad, the fault lies in the character of the constituency, not in the form of government. The arguments for union with the United States have, therefore, of late years, reduced themselves chiefly to geographical and commercial considerations. No less a man than Mr. Goldwin Smith has undertaken to be the exponent of the idea that the strength of these is too overwhelming to be resisted. In 1877 he wrote “Canadian nationality being a lost cause – the ultimate union of Canada and the United States appears now to be morally certain; so that nothing is left for Canadian patriotism but to provide that it shall be a union indeed, and not an annexation.” Mr. Smith’s position as a writer and thinker entitles everything he says to our best consideration and the literary lance he wields is altogether too brilliant to be treated with indifference. The honesty and sincerity, too, of his convictions, cannot be doubted. Canadians, however, may well be excused if they refuse to accept as the prophet of their future destiny a writer who could find nothing better than this as the ultimate aim and issue of Canadian patriotism and Canadian politics. Mr. Smith himself freely admits that in stating his view he does not pretend to be interpreting the present feelings of Canadians, but rather the reverse. Falling back on his character as a philosophical observer of history he argues in some such form as this: “Geography will prove too strong for you; Commercial tendencies will overcome your prejudices; utility will vanquish sentiment.” It is on these grounds of geography, commercial advantage, and utility, that he must be met. In the first place, Mr. Smith and others who sympathize with him seem to underrate, where they notice at all, one primary fact, remarkable enough in itself and probably unique in history. We can easily understand that it requires no very marked natural boundary to form the line of division between nations which differ in language, religion and descent, as is the case of European States. But in America we can see that an almost purely arbitrary line of division has for a century served to sharply divide into two nationalities, and across the breadth of a continent, two peoples who speak the same language, study the same literature, and are without any decisive distinctions of religious creed. For a limited number of the cultured and travelled classes the sharpness of distinction may tend to disappear since this is the influence of culture all over the world, but such an exception does not interfere with the main fact, that in the great mass of the people along the whole length of the boundary, the characteristics of Americans and Canadians are so marked that each at once recognizes the other when off his own soil. This is a very remarkable result for our first century’s joint occupation of this continent, and can only be accounted for by the existence of forces more powerful in their operation than geographical facts. A thing which still more forcibly illustrates the strength of the influences working in this direction, and which seems to controvert altogether Mr. Smith’s opinion of the omnipotence of economical considerations in giving direction to a nation’s history, is the fact that the admitted present loyalty of Canada is deepened and matured through a long series of years when the United States were sweeping along past us in a career of prosperity almost without example in history, when trade and enterprise languished among ourselves, and when union with them seemed as if it would secure for us an equal share of all that they enjoyed. When circumstances such as these have failed to change the tendencies of our national life, it seems contrary to all ordinary probability that any possible commercial influences of the future could ever do so, especially since we now believe that, by the opening of our great North West, we have ourselves touched the same springs of growth and prosperity which gave to them their remarkable development. Before proceeding with the independent consideration of the question, I wish to quote but a few more lines of Mr. Smith’s argument, because they seem to me to represent a set of false ideas on the subject. He says: “The filaments of union are spreading daily. * * * Intercourse is being increased by the extension of railways; the ownership and management of the railways themselves is forming an American interest in Canada; New York is becoming the pleasure, and, to some extent, even the business, capital of Canadians; American watering places are becoming their summer resorts; the periodical literature of the States, which is conducted with extraordinary spirit and ability, is extending its circulation on the Northern side of the line; and the Canadians who settle in the States are multiplying the links of family connexion between the two countries.” To show how little such things as these indicate a tendency to political union, we may restate the case thus: -- Intercourse between the United States and England has increased in a still greater ratio during the last few years, through the development of safe and speedy steamboat travel; enormous sums of British capital are invested in American railways and other enterprises; American magazines are published in London; English periodicals increase their circulation in America in direct proportion to the spread of culture and refinement; social and personal links between the two countries are multiplying constantly. Does any one dream that all this points in the slightest degree to political union between the two countries? To something else, undoubtedly, but not to this. It points to moral union, to the breaking down of national hates, dislikes or prejudices; to wider sympathies; to mutual respect, confidence, even affection. Between Canada and the United States, as between England and the United States, such union as this cannot be too closely cultivated. It gives free play to all the harmonizing influences of common race, language, and literature. It furnishes a happy augury, which we cannot prize too highly, that in the future march of history the parent country and its great off-shoot shall work side by side, rather than cross each other’s paths. But to suppose that such things as these touch the ultimate reason of separate national existence is surely a fallacy. The same profound national convulsion which gave birth to the United States gave birth to the life of Canada as well. As much principle and as much self-sacrifice were involved in the act of the Loyalists, who gave to Canada its peculiar character, as in the struggles of the Revolutionists who founded the American Union. For what he believed, and for what was, a great principle, the Revolutionist broke down an old loyalty, cut his ties with the past, and started alone the battle for independence. With an abiding faith in the institutions of his Mother Land, not to be shaken by the single mistake of a king, a minister, or a parliament, the Loyalist sacrificed his all to save his connexion with the past, and came to Canada. Who will dare to say that the faith of the Loyalists has not been as fully justified as that of the Revolutionist? Have American institutions developed a greater personal freedom than that which is enjoyed under British rule? Have they produced a higher tone of public morals or a greater purity of social life? Have they diminished the risk of great national convulsions? Have they made impossible the degradation and abuse of inferior races; black, red, or yellow? Have they rendered statesmanship more noble and unselfish; justice more incorruptible; human life more sacred; domestic ties more holy; the people more God-fearing? I do not believe there is a man who hears me who could honestly stand up and affirm that American institutions have surpassed or even equalled our own in any one of these particulars. Yet these are the things which ennoble a nation; these are the marks of true success. The one thing which seems to dazzle all eyes – the fact of the nation’s great prosperity; is due far more to physical circumstances than to any form of Government. But we must remember that what separated Canada from the United States was a struggle, not for prosperity, but for principles, and ties held far more deeply than any prosperity. I wish now to examine with you the two main propositions on which the arguments for annexation or Union with the United States are based. I am free to say that I can see written on the very face of them nothing but public shame and degradation for the people of Canada. I am proud to say that so far as I know they have never been publicly advocated by any Canadian. I am glad to see here, in this city of the Loyalists, a leading evening paper, when giving, a few days ago, a summary of these views, as stated in Mr. Clark’s essay in the Contemporary Review, deemed it right to disclaim any approval of them. If we are to change our nationality, it behoves us to study well the basis on which our new loyalty is to be built. In the first place, we are told that we shall always be exposed to the chances of war with the United States so long as we remain politically connected with Britain, since our Dominion would naturally be made the first point of attack should differences arise between the two countries; that resistance to such an attack would be useless and absurd; that our only guarantee of safety from future subjugation and the military occupation of the country is to form as quickly as we can and on the best terms we can, a civil union with the power which thus threatens us. The paper which Mr. Clark has published has more than one sneer at the want of spirit and vigor of the Canadian people, but no direct sneer of which language is capable could be so cutting as that of which he himself seems to be perfectly unconscious when he thus appeals to the cowardice of Canadians as an argument why they should abandon an ancient loyalty, connect themselves with a system which they dislike, and reconcile their spirits as best they can to endure the contempt of the people they abandon, the contempt of the people whom they join, and the self-contempt that must be much more bitter than either. The keenness of this probably unintentional insult to the spirit of the Canadian people is, if possible, intensified by the motives which he suggests as likely to produce the interference in our affairs by the United States, which we are to dread so much. “It seems to me,” he says, “that any attempt to extend English influence in America must involve us in unpleasant differences with the Government and people of the United States.” And again, when speaking of the possible Anglicising of Canada and the transference of English lines of policy to America, he says: “This, we may depend upon it, would be by no means congenial to the United States, and could not and would not be tolerated by that nation.” If this be the tone of “bated breath and whispered humbleness” with which Englishmen and Canadians are to approach the American henceforth, then at last the bitter words of Cassius have found their living realization: - “Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world Like a Colossus, as we petty men Walk under his huge legs, and peep about To find ourselves dishonorable graves.” If Mr. Clark be sincere in his professed desire to convince the British people that he has reason on his side, he effectually thwarts his own design, since no suggestion which he could devise will go so far to throw against the weight of his reason the strongest passion that influences the British mind, whether in England or Canada. He says that the North American continent has been consecrated to democracy, which assumes the attitude of intimidation. The proposition he thus lays down is false. Our continent has been consecrated to Freedom, and every true lover of freedom will pray that Canadian and Englishmen alike will ever stand ready to defend the right of individuals and nations to follow their own lines of development, whether that liberty be threatened by a tyrant democracy or a single despot. If we look closely at the present condition of the United States, it may fairly be questioned whether a military occupation of Canada would prove so very simple or easy a thing. No nation has had its energies more fully taxed in crushing civil dissension of its own. The fears of the Republican party in the late election show that they appreciate the magnitude of the dangers which still threaten them in the South. With the exception of England no other nation depends so much for its prosperity upon free commercial intercourse with other lands. The effect on the commerce and carrying trade of the country produced by a single Alabama makes it impossible that the nation would regard as trivial the prospect of British fleets sweeping their Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and cutting off trade with the outside world. Exposed thus to East and West, with a South solid and hostile enough now in politics, and possibly solid and hostile in war, the United States might find a United Canada to the North, with its immense frontier, as perplexing for purposes of attack as for defence, an enemy not at least to be despised. But picture the worst that such a war could bring to us; defeat, military occupation, utter subjection. If war between Britain and the United States be, as is claimed, a possible contingency of the future, would not each and all of these be infinitely preferable to placing ourselves in a position that would justly make us the scorn of the world and of ourselves, when, having joined ourselves to a country which we feared, we should by that act be pledged to use our arms, our means, our collective force as a people against the very land that gave us birth, that had freely given to us all the best she had to give of perfect freedom and noble institutions, and had extended over us the strong shield of her protection through a hundred years of struggling and dependent national infancy? The mere possibility of such a thing, to my mind, rules the question of Annexation entirely out of the field of open discussion among us. I leave this point in the discussion, however, with this one remark, that I believe I am speaking the mind of the Canadian people when I say that any future writers and thinkers about the destiny of Canada or the Empire may omit as factors in this complex problem, the fears which the Canadian people entertain of the United States, since even if they did exist, as they do not, we would be ashamed either to own them or act upon them. The argument, however, to which the greatest weight is given by writers like Mr. Clark and Mr. Goldwin Smith, and that on which they chiefly rely for the ultimate triumph of their views, is that the commercial interests of Canada and her desire to share in the greater prosperity of the United States will ultimately, in spite of present feelings and appearances to the contrary, lead her to a spontaneous change of nationality. Out of this view three sharply defined propositions present themselves for the consideration of Canadians. Does the highest possible commercial advantage of Canada in the future depend upon connexion with the United States? Is a share in the prosperity of that country, in our view of our own development as a people, the right thing for us to wish for or the best thing for us to get? Thirdly, granting an affirmative answer to the question of commercial advantage, is this consideration such as will induce us to drop all our old national connexions and merge ourselves into new ones? Reversing the order of these questions in our discussion we may remark this: that no truly noble individual life, much less any truly noble national life, was ever yet in the world’s history built up on principles and purposes entirely mercenary. The landmarks in history to which the human heart everywhere turns with a thrill of instinctive pride are the periods when nations have forgotten, for a time, self-interest and the love of gain, and in the glow of splendid enthusiasm have made all final sacrifices from motives of principle, affection, honor, and loyalty. The United States themselves were founded, as a nation, on what seemed at the time an utter defiance of commercial advantage, and the heroic age of that country, as of every other, the age that gave birth to all that is noblest and purest in it, was not the time of its wealth and luxury, but the time of its self-denial, poverty and sacrifice. Prosperity must be an incident to noble national life, not the sole foundation on which it is built. I cannot conceive it as possible for a people like ourselves, who have for a century received their national bias and development from a political system which they consider the best in the world, for which they have continued to profess the most devoted regard, and to which they are tied by a thousand bonds of affectionate sympathy, deliberately, in cold blood, and for commercial reasons only, to dissolve that connexion and join themselves to a state with the history and traditions of which they have little sympathy, and to whose form of government they object, without a degradation of public sentiment and indifference to the opinion of the outside world; quite without a parallel in history. I venture to affirm that Canadian sentiment has not sunk to such a condition: that the Canadian public, when they have to fairly meet the question in this attitude, will recoil from it with instructive repugnance; and I also venture to predict that indifference to this finer sentiment of the country, all letters to our newspapers openly advocating annexation, will continue to be, as I observe they have lately been, discreetly anonymous. The case of Scotland has been brought forward, as an illustration of a country which, chiefly for commercial reasons, gave up its independent national life, without sacrifice of honor and to its infinite advantage. But there is really no similarity between the two cases. Scotland was an independent state, with no feelings to consider save those of its own people; treating about a union on equal terms; with a form of government identical in most respects with that of England, and entirely so in respect of its supreme power, and required to surrender little save its parliamentary autonomy. It is obvious how utterly the analogy fails to hold. When, therefore, I am told that geography and commercial tendencies are strong, I can only reply that the basis of national life and loyalty to the spiritual forces which give a people birth are stronger still. A sensitive regard for public honor is infinitely stronger. I am satisfied that the combined actions of such forces as these render it morally impossible that Canada can adopt what must necessarily be, while built upon such arguments as those we have discussed, a bastard nationality, the joint offering of suffering and fear. Again, while it would be absurd to undervalue material prosperity, we must constantly remember that its highest value consists quite as much in the discipline of the powers required for its acquisition as in the acquisition or possession itself. This must be as true of nations as daily experience shows it to be with the case of individuals. Now when Canadians are told that they must look to union with the United States for any increase of commercial prosperity, and that such a connexion will at once draw them into a tide of greater business energy, I cannot but think that a prosperity purchased by such means is obtained by the sacrifice of that which gives prosperity its greatest worth. We have a country with enormous capacity for development. The field is large enough and varied enough to satisfy the greatest energy, and every form of it. The consolidation of our national strength; the linking together of our wide-spread Provinces by railway systems; the opening of our great North-West, seem to have removed the conditions which hitherto have made us lag behind in the race for material success. Under such circumstances, or under any circumstances, would it not be infinitely more worthy of us; would it not be a far better national training and discipline if we resolutely set ourselves to work to supply that in which we are deficient, rather than seek it ignominiously at the hands of others? Can it be true that we have not within ourselves the strength of brain and hand to wrest from nature the success and prosperity that others have won? If we have not then let us not add to our weakness a spirit of mean dependence. Once more, whatever have been the commercial history of some portions of Canada in the past, or even their present condition, I cannot but believe that the inevitable tendency of our great trade relations for the future, is much more towards England and English dependencies than towards the United States. Look at the map of the world, and observe how the northern half of America, our Dominion, leans, as it were towards Europe, with its mighty water-way of the St. Lawrence and the great lakes stretching far into the heart of the continent, and seeming to be placed there as a path along which that vast country, apparently possessing an almost unlimited capacity to supply the staples of life, may convey its overflowing productions to the consuming millions of the Old World. From their position and physical character Canada and the United States must necessarily be rival producers. We are to be a great grain and cattle raising country. So are they. A political connection with the country which must always furnish our best market for grain and cattle, and at the same time would find its own interest to be in keeping the channels of this trade open and secure amid all the chances of war, would certainly be to us a great advantage. Our great lumber interests point in the same direction. So far as it is possible to judge, the chief volume of the export trade of the great and prosperous Canada of the future to which we look forward would always consist in these staples of lumber, and food in various forms. Connection with British, not American systems of commerce would give this trade its best development, if development depends at all upon such connection, and certainly political union with Britain would give it greater security. Our second great dependence for increased prosperity must be in manufactures. I think that some of the conditions on which successful manufacture must depend among us may be stated without any pointed reference to the vexed question of the National Policy. Manufacturing in these days has become so much specialized, that production on a large scale seems to be an absolute condition of cheap production. This implies a large market. Without doubt it is the possession of a wide market which has enabled the Americans hitherto, to so far surpass us. I cannot think, however, that a commercial union which would throw the whole field of competition open to both countries, would tend so much to develop our manufactures as it would to give a still wider market to the producers of their established factories. Many who hear me will remember a series of articles on Canadian affairs which appeared, some years ago in the London Times, in which that great journal affirmed that England, in reality, cared little for Canada or the Canadians; that the sooner all political connection between the two countries came to an end the better; that Canadian loyalty, useless in itself, was altogether too expensive for the British people to retain as a mere laurel to adorn their Sovereign’s crown. It will be remembered, too, what pain this statement of the Times, then regarded as an almost infallible index of public opinion, caused throughout Canada, when it seemed as if our loyal affection could look for no better return than this cold philosophy. I have heard men of great knowledge of English affairs, and of the English people, say that this was the most positive failure they have ever known the Times to make in doing that upon which it chiefly prides itself, viz.: forming an accurate estimate of public sentiment. That it was a mistake was amply proved by the almost unanimous burst of public applause and approval in which the passionately indignant protest of Mr. Tennyson, in reply to those articles, was received. The real heart of England was touched when the poet, in the final dedication to the Queen of his Idylls, referring to the subject said: “And that true North, whereof we lately heard A strain to shame us – ‘keep you to yourselves: So loyal is too costly! friends – your love Is but a burden: break the bands and go!’ Is this the tone of Empire? Here the faith That made us rulers? This indeed her voice And meaning, whom the roar of Hougoument Left mightiest of all nations under Heaven? What shock has fooled her since that she should speak So feebly?” The heart of Canada was touched as well to find that its old faith was not all a dream. I observe that one who loved and served this country well, our late brilliant Governor-General, Earl Dufferin, in dedicating the Canadian edition of his “Letters from High Latitudes,” has chosen to do so in those opening words, “To that True North.” I wish to connect with these lines one more association, which will, I am sure, in all Canadian hearts, add a tender grace to the delicate compliment of the poet and of the politician. I am able to do so through the accident of a conversation with a Lincolnshire clergyman, a relative and intimate friend of the Poet Laureate, whom I happened to meet at the house of a mutual friend when in Oxford a few years ago. When I was introduced to him by our host as a Canadian, he told me that he had just learned a fact which he was sure would interest all Canadians. Mr. Tennyson, with whom he had lately been staying had told him, that when the articles to which reference has been made, appeared in the Times, Lady Franklin, who was then a guest in his house, and who felt the most intense interest in the future of Canada, had been filled with indignation at the wrong which they did to English sentiment and the insult which they gave to Canadian loyalty, and had strongly urged upon him the duty and propriety of publicly protesting against both, and of expressing the true feelings of Englishmen in the poem he was about to publish. Being in the fullest sympathy with Lady Franklin’s views, the poet acted upon this suggestion and the lines were written. Happy the poet who has so noble a source from which to draw his inspiration; happy the people who can find such an interpreter of their inner thought. I do not know that I violate any private confidence in referring to this, since my informant spoke of the matter rather as a fact which he wished could be known in Canada, and it has seemed to me well that the Canadian people should know, when looking at these lines, that behind the poet’s brain was the woman’s heart, and that a lady whose name is held in highest honor wherever the English language is spoken, nay, wherever heroism and devotion touch the human heart, is thus connected by the subtle thread of sympathy and the golden verse of our greatest poet, with our own loved land. The lecturer then went on to deal with the question of Imperial Federation, frankly admitting that there were many prejudices to overcome and difficulties to meet before it could be accomplished. But he considered that the choice for England lay between breaking through these prejudices and giving up her Imperial position. England would find that Englishmen of the colonies were just as sensitive for the honor and welfare of the Empire as Englishmen in the Mother Land. He then proceeded to combat some of the suggested difficulties of such a Federation. England has a great work to face which will presently become too vast, even for her great powers without the aid of her offspring. If they would bear successfully the tremendous burthen of responsibility placed upon them neither British statesmen nor British Christians can afford to lose one fraction of the moral strength and force of manhood which are becoming centralized in the colonies. These colonies on the other hand require a noble purpose in their national life. Without this purpose mere growth and prosperity are poor things. Even self-improvement is poor if it does not overflow in active exertions to lift others to the heights itself has won. What nobler employment could we wish for our superfluous energies than to share in the great work which Providence has given to our Mother Land? What grander future than to mingle fully our destiny with hers? If we strive to shirk the responsibilities of that destiny shall we not shame our blood? We may now naturally proceed to consider our question in a still wider aspect, namely, whether the effect on the rest of the world of the (formation and) consolidation of so vast an empire would be good or not. This is the more necessary, because the appeal to national loyalty in the support of that policy which would fix us as a nation in a position of world-wide, if not predominant, influence, is often met by the assertion that the day for a restricted national loyalty is past; that such a feeling is inconsistent with the loftier cosmopolitan spirit of Christianity and a developed civilization; that the interests of the world are those which should decide this momentous question, not the interests of England and her colonies. Will, then, the widening of our national life and interests be out of harmony with the cosmopolitan spirit which we must admit strongly influences the currents of modern thoughts? To judge fairly of this, we must keep clearly before our eyes one great position which England has won in the eyes of the world, quite different from that of any other great power. She has reached a stage in her history where further territorial aggrandisement, for its own sake, is strongly deprecated, rather than desired, by the nation at large. The best proof of this statement lies in the fact that her rulers are constantly forced to put forward the plea of absolute necessity as the excuse and justification for any policy which seems even indirectly to have extension of territory or assumption of power as its object or issue. The sense of responsibility for what we hold seems to have quite vanquished the wish to acquire. A parallel remark may apply to the desire for military glory. However much we may admire military valor, the mere desire for military glory has utterly ceased to be a factor in influencing national counsels. Our contentment with what we have may be the contentment of satiety, but it is, nevertheless, a most important fact, since it has placed us on a level reached by no other great power of modern times. We may safely assert that a power which in the hands of any other of the great modern nations would seem to threaten the liberties of the world, would, in the hands of the English people, be regarded as the greatest security of those liberties. The interests of England still lie in the path of peace. The only conquests to which she looks forward are those of peace. Even in the past her wars have usually not so much been prime factors in her history as episodes or interruptions in her career of commercial, industrial and social progress. In France war may at any time be necessary to bolster up a falling power or a falling party; in Germany to justify and maintain militarism; in Russia to hide the rottenness of despotism, but in England it can be only really necessary in self-defence. Hence it is that the English people seem to have resolutely set themselves to oppose anything that savors of aggression. It is for the interest of the world that a nation thus disposed to stand entirely upon the defensive should be as strong as possible. The greater her strength the greater would be her weight of moral influence; the deeper would be the dread of running into conflict with her (entertained by any aggressive power) and hence the surer would be the guarantee of peace. But the commercial vantage ground of a federated British Empire would be far more influential towards the maintenance of peace than even dread of her power. Nothing but utter commercial paralysis could await any nation which entered upon a war with a country which controlled the trade, not of the British Isles alone, but of India, Australia, large parts of Africa, one half of North America, with all the numberless smaller adjuncts of these countries; which held the passes of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, which would have its power of keeping open its own ocean paths indefinitely increased by being able to draw on the vast nurseries of hardy seamen which have been developing in the fishing waters of the Newfoundland Canadian coasts; the traffic of the great inland lakes and the insular worlds of Australia and New Zealand. It would seem as if our empire, so situated, possessing within itself all the materials required to feed commercial activity and able to keep open all its lines of communication, might meet any opposing power or possible combination of powers by simply resting upon the defensive, and leaving the natural operation of financial and commercial laws to do all that could be done by the sword. If we really have faith in our own social and Christian progress as a nation; if we believe that our race can be trusted better than others, to use its power with moderation, self-restraint and a deep sense of moral responsibility; if we believe that the wide area of our possessions may be a solid factor in the world’s politics, that will always throw the weight of its influence on the side of peace, then it cannot be inconsistent with devotion to all the highest interests of humanity to wish and strive for a consolidation of British power. It is because, I believe, that in all the noblest and truest among us there is this strong faith in our national integrity and in the greatness of the moral work our race has yet to do, that I anticipate that the whole weight of Christian and philanthropic sentiment will ultimately be thrown on the side of the federation, as opening up the widest career of usefulness for us in the future. What seems to me, however, the one paramount necessity which must lead us towards federation, arises from the fact that the British people in whatever land or under whatever conditions they may be, are traders. This may sound vulgar, as a national epithet, but it is not so really. This character has lived with us side by side with all the fighting energy of the Roman, and nearly all the literary of the Greek. It does not seem to be inconsistent with the Christian energy of philanthropy, and may furnish it with the strongest weapons. In virtue of this trading instinct we hold the foremost place among the civilizing nations of the earth. In following it we have won empire; to satisfy its necessities we must maintain the empire; for what we have been in the past such we must be in the future. More and more, as wealth accumulates and civilization becomes more diffused and complex, the products of every land are laid under contribution to satisfy their wants. Check the free course of British trade and you check the progress of civilization. Therefore every ocean must be safe for British ships; ports in every quarter of the globe must be open to them; the products of every clime must be within their reach and as free to move from place to place as it is possible to make them. British civilization demands, for the future, not at all any national monopoly of commerce, but an absolute guarantee that it shall not be possible to exclude us from nature’s great storehouses of the raw material by which we are supported, or on which we toil, the cotton of India -- the wool of Australia and South Africa -- the sugar of Jamaica, the wheat and lumber, fish and cattle of Canada – the numerous products of these and other lands. To obtain this guarantee we need not rouse the military spirit of our race to win it by the sword. The unequalled capacity for political organizations which has been the outcome of our national training can secure it, and secure it in a far more worthy and permanent way. Break up this empire into a number of struggling independent States, influenced solely by local interests and motives, and the world’s commerce will be exposed to infinite hazards and hindrances. But let these states be held together under one government, strong and confident in its united strength, with a common commercial system, framed by the general wisdom, for the general good, with a domain containing within its wide limits almost every production of nature or human skill which men wish to possess or exchange; with the wealth of an old country and the vigor of new ones constantly reacting upon each other; and a stimulus will be given to human intercourse and human progress such as the world has not yet known. No greater problem has arisen in the lapse of time for a people to deal with. No question concerns more deeply the future doctrines of the world. Great difficulties will undoubtedly present themselves when we come to details, but the greater ideas, unity of blood, unity of sentiment, unity of interest, unity of natural purpose must, in the end, prevail. All the elements of a more complete and comprehensive national existence stand hanging in solution, and ready to chrystallize themselves into their new form. How and when that change will come we cannot now foresee. The shock of any great national crisis, which might rouse the blood of our race to a struggle for self-defence or self-preservation, would certainly bring it about at once. Since it would reveal to us how intimate is our mutual dependence, how strong are the cords of sympathy and interest which bind us together. More probably it will come as the natural outgrowth of the dissimilar, and yet concurrent necessities of the various sections of the Empire. As the colonies find their interests more and more connected with every part of the world, they will feel the absolute necessity of a full share in a wide national life. The rivalry of other nations in physical force and still more in manufacturing energy, will compel England to maintain all just means to maintain her prestige or consolidate her power. The hindrances to trade produced by conflicting commercial systems in various parts of the Empire are every day making the question one of the closets personal interest to thousands of manufacturers and millions of consumers. By such influences as these is developed that weight of public opinion which forces questions forward into the sphere of practical politics, which compel statesmen to find some practical expression for the public will, and makes great masses of people willing to forget minor differences for the attainment of great objects. It has long been our proud boast that while other nations require to be governed, we, as a race, are able to govern ourselves. To that kingly power, in every stage of our development, new and more comprehensive tests have been applied. It would now seem as if we stood face to face with the ultimate test to which this self-governing ability can be subjected. Have we the political genius and patience to organize on a basis of mutual benefit the empire which we have had the power to create? Have we the courage to rise to the full height of the destiny which Providence seems to have placed within our reach? And now but one thought more -- It is not at all clear that the world has gained that point where it needs no longer set up bulwarks against “leagued oppression.” Despotisms, to the ambitions of which no one has ever yet formed or fixed a limit, hold sway to-day over vast masses of mankind, and keep their ends in view, unwearied by lapse of centuries. Side by side with these the passionate forces of Socialism seem to be gathering all their strength, like mighty tides with force to burst their barriers, but with no power to stay the headlong rush of their own destroying waves. In the mortal strife that is being waged; in the passionate fury of attack or the strong instinct of self-defence -- coalitions might easily be formed such as the world has hitherto never known, with force to shape the institutions of civilization to their very centre. It is far from impossible that England once again may have to stand with bated breath to see the wild tides of popular frenzy roar around the crumbling towers of despotism, or match herself against the victor in the strife. We may deplore the woes that nations bring upon themselves; we may try all that reason can do to stay the oppressor’s hand, or the assassin’s stroke, but it would be madness for us as a nation to hope that thus the wild passions of mankind can be controlled, or to put our trust in the belief that they will spend all their rage in conflicts with each other. While then we gather up all the strength and organize all the forces that God has placed in our hands to lift the world to nobler heights of life and thought, let us none the less brace ourselves firmly to meet the worst that Time can bring; and if a towering tyranny should ever again find space in the world to rear its head so high as to threaten our hard-won gains of liberty and peace; if mad democracies should ever strive to shake the pillars of “our slowly grown and crowed Republic”; if envious nations should ever combine to crush a power that lay athwart the path of their ambitions; then what better than the words of one whose Empire stands secure above the chance of harm from our poor politics; whose verse has done more than aught else to weld us as a race together; who is the voice of England’s noblest thought in every age, the patriot poet of our own – Shakespeare: -- “Come the three corners of the world in arms And we shall shock them; nought shall make us rue, If England to herself do rest but true.” At the close of the lecture, which was delivered in good voice and with excellent action, the lecturer was loudly applauded, as he was also frequently during its delivery. A number of gentlemen afterwards went on the platform to congratulate him on his fine effort.