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In fancy I can see thee stand
Across the broad, green calm below; And there were trees, beneath whose boughs
Stood happy horses, sheep, and cows. From thy back windows thou couldst see,
Half-way between St. Paul's and thee, Swans with their shadows, and the barge
Of State old Thames took in his
There were no need to fly from men.
On babes that crawl in dirt and slime.
One room in which five souls must live,
With but one window for their air. Foul art thou now with lives of care, For hungry children and men poor Seek food and lodging at thy door. Thou that didst hear, in thy first hours,
Birds sing, and saw the sweet wild flowers.
William H. Davies.
THE ATTITUDE OF CANADA.
The prevailing note in the relations between the various self-governing parts of the British Empire seems just now to be one of exuberant good feeling. So much magnanimity is there that one sometimes hears Englishmen talk with complacency of the time when, by the shifting of population, Ottawa and not London may have become the capital of the Empire and the Mother Country the dependency almost of her present dependencies. Prussia has been absorbed into Germany; why should not England lose herself in a larger state? A Canadian is almost astounded when he picks up The Times to see how much space is given to the affairs of his country. he is old enough to remember that, twenty-five years ago, he felt something like a glow of pride when he found in a copy of The Times a single paragraph relating to Canada, he will not fail to be impressed by the change. Yet it may puzzle him. It is probably true that four-fifths of the people of Canada do not understand the present attitude of Great Britain towards them. They are not conscious of any considerable change in outlook. They have always believed in their own country. They have always valued the tie with Great Britain, and they are content to go along in the old way with the difference only of a somewhat stronger national feeling as Canadians. On the other hand, most Englishmen have changed their point of view. is obliged at times almost to rub one's eyes. The old note that the Colonies may go when they like, and good luck to them, is changing not merely to a desire to retain them, but to a nervous dread lest they may go and thus bring about Britain's ruin. The Englishman has been wondering whether, since there is no immortality on earth for the
individual, so also may there be none for any state, and he is haunted by the fear that the days are numbered of Britain, the oldest of the present great monarchies of Europe.
It is striking to see with what humility of spirit the Englishman is trying to meet a new situation. Of late years he has been told so often that in facing new conditions he is unadaptive and arrogant that now he distrusts himself. The national character has hardly changed-national character does not change in a generation. The Englishman still believes that his is the highest type of civilization in the world and I rather think he is right. But the more thoughtful are deeply anxious to be conciliatory and to understand the point of view of other nationalities within the Empire. They are frank in admitting past mistakes and failures. In their present theory of Empire they put the Canadians, for instance, and themselves on a perfectly equal foot. ing. When one remembers that the Briton alone has been carrying the heavy load of the army and navy, adequate to defend this Empire, it is not his arrogance but his modesty and humility that are noteworthy.
It is towards Canada that he is most wistful. Rightly or wrongly, many Englishmen have come to think that the well-being of England is bound up with Canada, and that the great Dominion will soon be the heart of the Empire. Their own population may begin to decline; and they picture an aggressive Germany outnumbering Great Britain two to one. In gloomy moments they remember what Holland, another maritime state with only a small home territory, once was, and what she now is, and then they see that the tie with Canada will save the situation. Here is a vast and almost
unpeopled land with amazing possibilities. Let but Canada and Great Britain unite their resources and the future is no longer gloomy but steadily brighter as Canada fills up. Germany, instead of outnumbering, will soon be outnumbered by this mighty combination, and Britain will be sure to remain one of the leading states of the world. Mr. Chamberlain has even dreamed of a union between Great Britain, Canada, and other states from which should be evolved "a new government with large powers of taxation and legislation over countries separated by thousands of miles of sea." Lord Milner, while less exuberant, thinks that an organic union to form a single body politic is possible for the British Empire. It is true that when details are required he becomes vague. But the desire for such close union is real. Were it seen to be finally impossible many a Briton would despair of his country. A recent writer, Mr. Bernard Holland, reflects a common opinion: "If the Empire should dissolve, England would doubtless decay and decline, exhausted by the effort of creating so many new states and now impelled by her economic condition to become again a self-contained and selfsupporting country."
Perhaps this attitude of mind shows too much self-distrust, a quality we do not readily associate with the Englishman. Bereft of colonies and dependencies Great Britain would still have a larger population than France or Italy. But extreme militarism, the legacy to Europe of the Franco-German War, has become a nightmare. The flight of time has failed to mitigate it, and now Britain is startled at the increasing menace which this may be to her own safety. As long as the war-spirit limited itself chiefly to huge military armaments she felt reasonably secure with the sea as her frontier. 1 "Imperium et Libertas," p. 265.
But when Germany, already controlling a vast army, evolved plans for a huge navy too, Britain's alarm lest this navy might be used to land the army on her shores has grown, until now, with many, it has reached the point of panic. Looking round to strengthen herself she sees that she needs the daughter-nations and clings to them with a fervor almost pathetic.
And all the time the daughter-nations hardly understand the need of the mother-land. Canada at least feels herself menaced by no new dangers, and, living possibly in a fool's paradise, has no paroxysm of nerves. It has always been hopeless for her to think of armed strife with her only neighbor, for this neighbor could put a dozen men into the field to her one. From Europe, rightly or wrongly, she fears nothing, since, in case of such aggression, Canada would inevitably be backed by the United States.
It is a defect of Canadian newspapers that they are apt to be provincial in character, and give most of their space to the discussion of local issues. It thus happens that Canadians get little information about Europe. I doubt if there are two dozen people in Canada who read the daily Times. More of course read some less exhaustive English newspaper; but, after all, these, too, are only the few. The great bulk of the people of Canada learn the news of Great Britain only through the medium of Canadian newspapers. In former times these published the full, though of course biassed, cables which went to the press. of the United States. But now the Canadian press has a cable service of its own, and it is proving a doubtful blessing. Instead of the former copious cables we have now usually only a few paragraphs from the Old World. The tables are completely turned. England is growing less ignorant of Canada than is Canada of England.
The Canadians are becoming indeed a people quite different from the English. The saying of Horace, now trite enough, cœlum non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt, is, in this relation, profoundly untrue. The European, transplanted to America, becomes, in some ways, a changed being. No doubt the extreme views of Buckle are out of date, that man's thought and actions represent simply the mechanical result of the physical forces about him. But we hardly need to be reminded nowadays that environment counts for something. The man who passes from Great Britain to Canada passes into a totally new world. Change of climate accounts for much, change of conditions for even more. In the land which he leaves there has been time to evolve definite social types and to unite them, with some precision, into one organism. English society is a unit. The Court circle, the public schools, the Universities, the clubs and drawing-rooms of London, the country houses scattered all over the land, unite to form one composite whole. In spite of concessions which rank now makes to wealth, this society is nicely graded. A hostess well understands who is to be asked to dinner and who only to luncheon or to tea. The clubs make their distinctions sharply, and schools for the gentry draw the line at the children of a retail tradesman, though they have no objection to those of his book-keeper.
It would be untrue to say that, because Canada is democratic, she has no social distinctions. It happened not so very long ago that a gentleman, otherwise entirely eligible. was blackballed at a Toronto club because he was in some way connected with trade. Many of the "old families" hold aloof from the nouveaux riches. But the lines are not drawn as they are drawn in England. In Canada social distinctions and birth count for much less, the in
dividual for much more. There is no unity in Canadian society; there is no well-entrenched social caste favored for its continuance by laws, such as that of primo-geniture; there is no social capital or court to determine standards. Montreal and Toronto, more than three hundred miles apart, know little of each other's social life; a social magnate in one place will be almost unknown in the other. Positions are made rapidly. In twenty, or even ten, years a man may rise from wealth to great affluence. He may still remain socially obscure; but, on the other hand, if he or his wife possesses the required qualities he may pass readily into something like social leadership. It all depends on the individual. There is no gradation of rank well recognized by public opinion, and itself the outcome of a long social growth.
Thus a profound initial difference exists between the outlook of the Canadian and that of the Englishman upon the society of which he forms a part. To the Englishman the Canadian seems often raw and crude, as perhaps he is. But it is as likely as not to be the crudeness of a strength conscious of itself and indifferent to other standards. No doubt the Canadian too feels the respect for high rank, the awe in the presence of royalty, so characteristic of the homeland; like Thackeray, he would be proud to be seen walking down the street arm-in-arm with a duke. But at heart the Canadian is, ceremonially, at least, a republican. He thinks monarchy a cheap and efficient form of government, and prefers it to a system that involves the prolonged quadrennial convulsion of his great republican neighbor. But he knows nothing of courts or of any practical aspects of the divinity that hedges about kingship. There is no local magnate in his neighborhood to whom he looks up with awe and respect; he himself is probably a land
owner, in his own view equal to every other landowner. If persons of rank conduct themselves with simple dignity he respects them, but he resents sharply any arrogance or lack of tact. Any one who presumed, in the slightest degree, upon his rank would find himself face to face with a plain-spoken democrat, who had no difficulty in calling a spade a spade. I remember that, when a scion of a noble house once forgot his manners at a social gathering in Canada, he was promptly toasted to his face as "our absentminded friend."
There is in truth in Canada, outside of a very limited circle, little or nothing of the social discipline that the Englishman accepts as a part of his natural atmosphere. The member of an old society knows almost instinctively the gradations of dignity from the premier duke to the last created baron. If he lives in the academic world he knows what profound difference of meaning there is between Oxford and Glasgow. He sees Glasgow itself bend the knee to Oxford and accept its inferior status as a part of that ordering of society which, if not recognized as divine, is at least the outcome of a long historical growth. No doubt the Canadian, too, is a little awed by the majestic traditions of the gray city on the Isis. But it is merely an emotion; these traditions are not concrete facts that have weight in his society as they have in that of England. The Canadian usually thinks it probable that his own universities will fit him or his son better for life than any in the Old World, and little or no prestige is gained in Canadian society by any brand of school or college. Even Eton and Christ Church would have but slight weight in this New World. One might draw out in other directions the contrast between the society of the two countries. But enough has been said to show that Canada has stand
ards of her own; she is evolving her own type of social life and is supremely interested in that and not in any other. She believes in herself. A few days ago I greeted a party of friends returning to Canada after a prolonged sojourn in England. “Thank God, I am back again in God's own country," one of them said as he alighted at the station. I smiled as I remembered that that is precisely what many an Englishman would be likely to say on returning home from Canada. It is assuredly not strange that Canada is to the Canadian what England is to the Englishman.
Canada is not becoming Americanized, if this means that she is drawing closer politically to the United States. On the contrary, just because she has a growing confidence in her own self, she is daily growing farther away from any thought of political union with that country. She shows indeed an increasing desire to be unlike rather than like the United States. As the outcome of a long and unhappy evolution the United States has to-day an embittered racial quarrel which, if combined with lack of confidence in the courts of justice, leads to dreadful scenes of mob violence. Such spectacles Canada has never witnessed, and they fill the minds of her people with horror. The scandal-mongering American press, that most inadequate exponent of the life of a people truly great, finds, happily, few imitators in Canada. The traditions of society in the United States are not understood or regarded in Canada; the new citizen of the West is respected as much or as little as the Boston Brahmin; it all depends on himself. Above all is Canada convinced that the machinery of government in the United States, its rigid conservatism and the impossibility of organic change, are inadequate to modern needs. A Canadian cannot readily grasp a situation in which the man