Article Title
Page Number
Article Type
Article Contents
Le Canadien, a well-written but execrably printed paper, ventilates a new grievance in a lively and vigorous article signed by its editor. He claims that the conducting of business in the public departments, exclusively in the English language, is a grave injustice and not in conformity with the spirit of the constitution! Would our Quebec contemporary have the accounts kept in both languages, and orders issued in both? This idea, if adopted, would result in the increase of the clerical force very considerably. One of the chief reasons for the almost general use of English instead of French as the language in which affairs are conducted is the fact that all French clerks understand that English while many of the English are ignorant of French. It is thus that the shortcomings of the latter have contributed largely to the adoption of their language in preference to the French tongue. But our contemporary’s greatest grievance relates to the printing of Canadian post-office orders in English only. He prints one of those and also one in French received from Buffalo, declares “it is a shame for Canada” to show so much less respect for the French language than is displayed by the United States. “Here is a people,” he says, “that is not obliged by its constitution to officially recognize the French language, but which has the good taste, the politeness, the sentiment of justice sufficiently developed, to employ the French language in speaking to Frenchmen.” In Quebec, on the contrary, when French is the official language, “you see post-office orders issued in English, because – because – Ah! Why, I ask you? Once more, we should blush with shame.” Our contemporary warmly eulogizes the United States mandate de poste for its purity of style and freedom from anglicisms, and for the third time asks himself and his readers to blush – “Je le repete, Rougissons,” – the natural inference being that official French in Canada is a striking contrast in these respects. But it appears that it is not in Ottawa only that the French language is neglected. “If I tell you, reader,” says the editor, “that in our city of Quebec, in several of the departments of the Provincial Government, business is conducted only in English, you would scarcely believe me. Nevertheless it is strictly true.” It appears, from this complaint, that English is actually gaining the ascendency, even in official quarters. It is gratifying to know that such is the case. One of the two languages must gain and the other lose in relative importance, and it is best in every respect that the loser should be the French. Our Acadian fellow citizens acquire English with great facility. It is scarcely a hardship to require them to do so. As English gradually increases in supremacy as the tongue in which public business is transacted, the French youth will be the more strongly stimulated to master it. In doing so they need not neglect their native tongue. We say nothing against it. We subscribe to all that is said in its praise. But it is the manifest destiny of this Dominion to be ruled by an English speaking race, and this destiny will certainly be fulfilled. The French will enjoy their fireside chat in their own tongue, and they will make love in the accents of their forefathers, but they will learn to conduct public business in English.