The Thunderer on Canada

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The Thunderer on Canada
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THE THUNDERER ON CANADA. It Reviews the Loyalty Resolutions, And Concludes that Canadians do not Wish to Committ Political Suicide and Merge Their Country in the American Republic. (From the London Times, Aug. 13). So much and so often do we hear of the political aspirations of the Canadians from others, that it is a novelty as well as a pleasure to learn from their own lips what they really desire. Any one who reads the recent despatch of the governor general, forwarding a loyal address to the Queen, will find therein sentiments widely different from those which are attributed to Canadians by a certain party of the American press supported by Goldwin Smith. Every murmur against England, every word of dissatisfaction uttered in Toronto or Quebec, every casual expression favoring a preconceived idea of the existence of an annexation party, is carefully recorded. To England and all parts of the United States is telegraphed every sentence appearing to support this theory; whether it is uttered in the dominion parliament or in a provincial legislature, by a responsible minister or any angry member of the opposition, matters little. Of the deliberate expressions of unshaken and unshakable loyalty and the rebukes to agitation against British rule, we hear little, and even the formal loyal address to her majesty by the house of commons of the dominion parliament is slurred over as if of no more consequence than the random words of a nameless politician or a sensational journalist. What tells for this preconceived theory counts twice, if not more; ALL THAT IS AGAINST IT IS IGNORED. It is well known that it has been of late the tactics of a portion of the press in the United States to push this question into a prominence which it does not possess in Canada. A committee of the senate was nominated ostensibly for the purpose of inquiring into the relations, fiscal and otherwise, of the two countries. Such has been the extent of the inquiry, so various have been the witnesses, speaking as to matters political, military, and commercial, that it really seemed at one time-though now we know otherwise-as if Mr. Hoar’s committee sat for the purpose of collecting evidence on the subject of the benefits of annexation and the feelings of the Canadians. This investigation did not pass unnoticed in Canada; and Mr. Mulock, a member of parliament belonging to the opposition, took occasion, with general concurrence, to move an address which would enlighten Americans as to Canadian opinion and be "an authoritative deliverance upon the subject." NOTHING COULD BE MORE PRECIOUS THAN ITS TERMS. "We have learned with feelings of entire disapproval that various public statements have been made, calling in question the loyalty of the people of Canada to the political union now happily existing between this Dominion and the British empire, and representing it as the desire of the people of Canada to sever such connection. We desire, therefore, to assure your majesty that such statements are wholly incorrect representations of the sentiments and aspirations of the Canadian people, who are among your majesty’s most loyal subjects, devotedly attached to the political union existing between Canada and the mother country, and earnestly desire its continuance." The address besought her to "accept our assurances of the contentment of your majesty’s Canadian subjects with the political connection between Canada and the rest of the British empire, and of their fixed resolve to aid in maintaining the same.” If any thing was lacking in this remarkable address to convince the most sceptical it was supplied by THE ELOQUENT, ENTHUSIASTIC SPEECHES in which it was supported by members of all political shades, by French-Canadians no less warmly than by members of English descent. We recommend those diligent collectors of evidence of disaffection to study the debate, and to not* the indignant denials that there exists any general dissatisfaction with English rule, or any desire to seek repose from internal troubles in closer connection with the United States. The most significant speech was that of the seconder of the motion. Mr. Amyot, a Canadian of French descent. He told with pride, as he well might, the gallant deeds of his countrymen fighting in the early days side by side with British soldiers. If he spoke of errors from time to time committed, he also bore testimony to the impartiality which England, forgetting diversity of language, religion and race, has shown to his kinsmen, who, notwithstanding their undying affection for France and a heritage of melancholy reminiscences, now yield to none in LOYALTY TO THE ENGLISH CROWN. "We enjoy a constitution which we admire, and we are proud of being British subjects because we belong to a country which has mustered nearly the whole world, and because the constitution of that country is based on so experience of centuries and assures the liberty of the people. We are loyal because we find freedom, justice and peace under that constitution. We do not believe—for my part, I do not believe, and I know that I express the views of my constituents when I say that they do not believe in the republican form of government under which a president or an executive becomes an autocrat for four years after an election." The speaker concluded by citing the saying of a distinguished Canadian, Sir Etienne Pascal Tache, that "the last gun that would be fired in defence of the British flag in this continent might very well be fired by a French Canadian." Such expressions outweigh a thousand arguments, and neutralize anything to the contrary to be found in the 1,200 pages of the senate’s report. All this may sound very strange to those who cannot understand that any body of intelligent men should not be solicitous to become with all speed citizens of the United States. It appears, nevertheless, perfectly natural language, if we consider the questions put in the Dominion house of commons to those who counsel revolutionary changes. What is to be gained? Can Canadians hope to enjoy an ampler measure of liberty than is now theirs? WILL THEIR LIVES BE BETTER, administration of justice purer, than at present? Will their fiscal policy be more in accordance with their own wants than now? It is unnecessary to determine whether the speaker in the debate was right who said of the government of the United States, "Our constitution rests on a far higher basis of liberty; we are more in touch with popular sentiment, and the people have a more direct control of those who serve them in a public capacity." It is enough to ask what solid gains would come in the train of a coalescence of the two countries. None have been named by those who keep up this discussion. True, the matter is in no mean degree one of sentiment. But the writers who exaggerate every passing expression of impatience or criticism forget that the patriotic Canadian has no ambition to see his country lost in the vast population of the union, reduced to the political importance of Iowa or California, and rewarded for abdication by sharing in some minute degree in returning a president. Why, it was asked more than once in the debate at Ottawa, should a young country with admirable resources and full of promise COMMIT POLITICAL SUICIDE? Why should she by her own act disappear from the nations of the earth? The aspirations of the most daring politicians lie in very different directions from those towards which a handful of theorists and malcontents would lure them. It is true that some Candian politicians, of whom the Toronto Globe may be taken to be the mouthpiece, desire that in regard to commercial matters should be able to make their influence felt at Washington less circuitously than is now practicable. Some of them may dream of a distant time when Canada will be strong enough to take her place among the of the earth. To the most hopeful that future is remote, and is still shapeless. The path to it lies, if we are to believe representative speakers in the Dominion parliament, in cherishing the connection with England, which gives much and takes away nothing. The last thing which they think of is to dig a grave wherein to bury their political hopes. Two predictions about the political future of the American continent are almost coeval, and they always recur together - one as to a future in which the union will be disintegrated, the other a time when Canada must gravitate towards the union. The first has been emphatically falsified. The fulfillment of the second is, according to the Dominion parliament, equally remote.