ra ae ite eile

, pes ¥ t Cagle ees

" 2

sarin m fs Tee) 5

a are NE *

ean eh apa Deepa y Femi ‘J ine Ete


an ge


y ims ey



ait ay vale

Sern pits Coil ae ere 7 deen %

eae Tn

fe ies” PP rene Ag hna see

Sy hays ee

2 ore a stay .

15 9157 DUE DATE


MA AKS 5 iW > +e y ee) FES \ S < : 4 S\ Wi Zips (’ ) = <3 12 : \ KS ‘a q ) | . uh =] Z é a | » . See Mk | } i

| eee] : ae y bh fi a j J x ~~ * = >








R.C.A., O.S.A., Etc.



change Number

Q2o Bibby


3 1223 00615 9157


As a general rule, a man must be a native of the country in which he claims the rights of citizenship. This is broadly true in connection with Germany, France, Russia, and Great Britain, but it is not true of Canada, nor yet of Australia or the United States. There are Canadians of all classes who were born on the soil, but’ there are also typical Canadians, with full citizen rights, who hail from all the civilised lands under the sun.

This volume deals, as its title indicates, with typical modern Canadians, but it is not a treatise on racial de- velopment or on the evolution of a spirit of devotion to a new and composite country. It is a book of impres- sionistic studies of a number of the outstanding Cana- dians, in various walks of life, who have built up the present-day Canada which is distinguished alike for its industrial greatness and its romantic traditions. These studies attempt to do some amount of justice to the patriotic efforts of certain men whose names are well known through the medium of the press, but who are little more than names to the general public.

An attempt has been made to provide a record of strenuous personal work done by men whose claim to public recognition lies rather in what they have done for Canada than in their descent or family connections. But this volume is no mere record of self-help, while it is re- cognised that the men of whom these chapters tell owe as much to Canada as Canada owes to them. They are men whose chief claim to distinction probably lies in their complete adaptability to the environment in which | they found themselves; and they must therefore be necessarily judged rather by what they became as



Canadians than by what they were before Canada laid a compelling hand upon their lives and fortunes.

The story of the strenuous life suggests the achieve- ments of the railroad king, the great financier, or the notable politician; but this book does not deal only with men who have made their names familiar in our mouths as household words.’’ Its purpose is also to show that certain men have deserved well of their country who have neither made large fortunes nor taken a place among their country’s legislators. Canada is not so crude as to depend entirely upon her millionaires and industrial leaders for her full development, and an effort ' has been made to prove that the work of the so-called “lesser? men of the country has had its full share in building up this modern and very vigorous nation.

In all cases the author has tried to get down to first principles, and to show the real character of the man under consideration, leaving the reader to form his own judgment of that character from the facts supplied. The book is from the pen of a writer who although not born in Canada claims to be a Canadian because his life- work as a pioneer has been done in the Dominion. ~




Sir Witt1am MacponaLp—An Educational Multi-philan- °

thropist ; ; A ; Q Str Rospert BorpEN—A Gentleman Premier Joun Ross Rosertson—A Benevolent Despot StR WILFRID LAURIER—The Chevalier of Quebec . GENERAL STEELE—Courage . ; . : BARON SHAUGHNESSY—System and Temperament. PRESIDENT FALCONER—A Dispassionate President. Srr WILLIAM MACKENZIE—William the Conqueror . Sir CLiFForRD S1rron—The Sphinx of Public Life . PROFESSOR JAMES MAvoRr—A Mutable Mentality HENRI Bourassa—A Parochial Patriot . ARCHBISHOP BRuUCHESI—A Sociological Prelate Sir WiLL1AM PETERSON—Collegium et Imperium WALTER ALLWARD—A Quiet Interpreter 3 : J Sir Joun Eaton—A Capitaliser of Public Interest Dr. A. S. Vocrt—The Chorus-master . : Rev. ALBERT CaRMAN—The Uncompromising Cleric Sir Sam HueHes—Hobnailed Boots CoLonEL GEORGE DENISON—Spurs and Sentences . Sir EpMUND WALKER—A Master of Amenities Sir Apam Beck—The Municipaliser Sirk Witt1am Van Hornze—Prodigious! E. Wyty Grier, R.C.A.—Temperamental eines Sir Witt1am Mutock—A Radical Reformer . C. A. MacratH—A Genuine Westerner Sir GEORGE FostER—A Constant Critic AUREOLE SuzoR CoTE—Le Peintre Srr Max ArtKeN—The Keats of Finance : Cov. Sir Henry PeLLratt—Our Unprofessional Showman Lorp STRATHCONA—The Land-Son Viking Two Pires pE Musigu—E—Deux Péres de Musique Two Painters oF OnTARIO—Foil and Counterfoil .

Rev. J. A. Macponatp—The Gaelic Orator . vu

Il 21 29 41 49 59 67 79 87 95







157 167



























Facing page

I 16 32 49 68

90 IIo Tag 161 176 193 209 224 241 256




CANADIANS are somewhat fastidious in the matter of Governors-General. H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught has spoiled us. Before his time we had experience of many first-rate Governors, some of whom added to their celebrity after leaving Rideau Hall. When a man has been vice-regent of Canada he is qualified to fill any gubernatorial post in the Empire. When the Duke of Connaught leaves this country it is to be hoped that he consents to act as the King’s representative in no other overseas dominion or crown colony under the sun. The inherent democracy of Canada was never at such a high pitch of expression as since the term of our most aristo- cratic governor. Soldier, statesman, gentleman, man of the world, and a Royal Governor embodying all the typical graces of the Victorian era and most of the rugged proverbial virtues of John Bull himself, we shall always remember Arthur, Duke of Connaught, as in most re-

spects the simplest, sincerest Governor we ever had. ~—

We shall never know how much of the Canadian army, both in numbers and in loyal fighting quality, was in- spired by the presence among us in a supreme capacity of a Royal Governor who is himself a trained soldier - of the highest rank in the Empire. The Duke’s shrewd and active interest in the militia system that became a great army and in the overseas dominion that has become itself a centre of empire sentiment, has always won the admiration of Canadians. In paying respect to His Royal Highness as a Duke, an Emperor’s uncle, and a polished instinctive gentleman of the first A

f !

H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught

rank in any of the world’s aristocracies, we sometimes look to him more kindly than to some of the more pre- tentious aristocrats whose titles are in direct ratio to their standing in politics or finance.

Twenty-six years ago the Duke of Connaught paid his first visit to Canada. During his stay in Toronto an orchestral concert was given in the Horticultural Pavilion. The Duke was not present, being socially engaged elsewhere. Just before the last number on the programme the conductor, whose career is sketched briefly in this book, turned and said to the audience:

‘Ladies and gentlemen,—In recognition of the fact that His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught, son

vot Her Majesty Queen Victoria, is in the city, the orches- tra will now play God save the Queen,’ so that you may have an opportunity to put on your wraps while we perform the last number on the programme.”

The compliment is now extended by people of many languages to the person of the Duke of Connaught him- self. In so doing, the people of Canada, more or less represented by the characters impressionised in this book of sketches, have a hope that the Duke of Con- naught counts it not the least distinguished part of an eminent career that for a term of years in the evening of his life he was privileged to become a citizen of

» Canada. As a true gentleman is always a democrat at heart, we believe that His Royal Highness will much oftener be proud of his Canadian citizenship than he will be conventionally amused at any of the superficial defects of our Canadian brand of democracy.


THE greatest educational philanthropist in the British | Empire—so far as the expenditure of millions for education is concerned—is a paragon of paradoxes. Money-making is as natural to Sir William Macdonald . as measles to childhood; but he lives almost as simply as a Street-car conductor. ~

Individually the richest man in Montreal, he has given away more than he has kept. Too conservative . to use a telephone until a few years ago, he has spent millions on modern scientific education for other people. A man of public interest to the core, right in the fore- front of modern movements that benefit society through practical education, he has never held any kind of office where any man could call him anything but plain Macdonald. So plain and simple in his tastes that for most of his life he drove to business in a series of old- fashioned gigs and phaetons, in a moment of unguarded weakness he accepted a title from Queen Victoria and scarcely knew what to do with it. A firm believer in domestic happiness he has always steadfastly refused ~ to marry. And though he has made millions out of manufacturing tobacco, he has never smoked a whiff or ~ taken a chew in his life, and once threatened a nephew of his with retirement back to Prince Edward Island if he did not give up cigarettes.

If there is joy in practising what you do not preach, : Sir William Macdonald should be the happiest man alive. There never was a Canadian Dickens to transcribe this man to a charactership in a novel, or he would have become one of the monuments of literature.

Since the memory of most men living Sir William has lived in a plain old terrace on Sherbrooke Street not far from McGill University. When he first went there the place was probably somewhat stylish. While other méney. barons of Montreal built modern castles at West-


Sir William Macdonald.

mount, Macdonald kept his terrace, whose only mark of pious care was the polish on the brass knockers and the knobs. The door opens into a dark hall and the hall leads off abruptly into a library of many books. Here at a lectern stands or used to stand Sir William, black coat, squidgy black bow loose under a negligent collar, glasses over his sharp nose—reading, reading, his only pastime. The books are many and various; the house is almost gloomy; the wallpaper reminiscent; on the walls not even a good oil painting. Some years ago Van Horne _ and Strathcona tried to interest Sir William in pictures. It was. no use. There was no reality in pictures; much more in books. And the old man often went down to business, even since his knighthood, in an overcoat that used to be grey till time made it somewhat green— always with that muffler at his chin, clattering away in his rickety gig to the dingy old offices on Notre Dame a few steps from his beloved Bank of Montreal, up the creaking rickety staircase that never knew an elevator, into rooms that would have given the blues to any but a man who cared nothing for mere comfort or decoration, but all for business.

Sir William was born in Prince Edward Island. His father was President of the Legislative Council, P.E.I. His grandfather was John Macdonald, eighth chief of the Clan of Glenaladale, founder of the Scotch settlements of Tracadie and three other places on the Island, and captain in the Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment in the Revolutionary War.

Further back than this the genealogist does not go, to the Highlands where the ancestors of this little man of compressed dynamics must have been giants of the mosshags. The line direct ends with William Macdonald, who may have concluded that it wi .10 use to have children that would inherit his mone, -nd perhaps go to the dogs in spending it.

William Macdonald was a little wire-edged bundle of energy when he turned his heels upon Prince Edward Island in 1854, and took an amazing journey up the St. Lawrence. The Montreal that first knew Macdonald was


Sir William Macdonald

a jumble of historical monuments, untidy docks, dirty, dark streets, thriftless French and diligent Anglo-Saxons, and one little university with less than a hundred students. What led him to manufacture tobacco nobody has ever explained. He would have made as much money had he decided to make sugar, cotton, or lumber. But tobacco was a Canadian institution. Lumber camps were as much in need of tobacco as a modern army. Hard tack, fat pork, and molasses needed plug tobacco to complete the luxury of living. The tobacco made by Macdonald was one of the first Canadian-made to go to the outpost places; smoked and chewed in lumber camps, mining camps, Eskimo igloos, prospectors’ tents, and Indian tepees; in half-breed shacks and factory yards; on trains and steamships and trails; in the outer- most marches of the Arctic where the hip-pocket and its plug are a constant joy; on the soft blowing Pacific where the weed from Montreal is as common as canned salmon; on the cod-banks of the Atlantic where the fisherman’s pipe is the joy of living; and even in down- town clubs of Canadian cities you will find men who, scorning the fine-cut and the patent package, discreetly haul out from the hip-pocket a plug of Macdonald tobacco and proceed to demonstrate the joy that comes from the art of getting ready to smoke.

Never to be forgotten is the first chew of tobacco I ever saw a man take. He was a timberjack in the hard- wood bush of western Ontario, about to notch a five- foot swamp elm which he and his mate would afterwards bring down with a crosscut saw. He took the black treacly plug from the hip-pocket, looked at it with almost maternal tenderness for a moment, bit off a corner, and prepared himself to enjoy the taste of that chew until the swamp elm should go down.

What kind is she, Bill? asked his mate.

Oh—Micdonald’s—down in Montreal.”

I remember seeing that brand advertised on the board fences; but I am not sure whether it was one of Mac- donald’s plugs or another sort almost equally famous which furnished. bushwhacker wags with the bogus five-


Sir William Macdonald

cent pieces that they sometimes dropped into the church collection plate. There was great stimulus to the imagina- tion in one of those plugs of tobacco. Molasses laden, gummy and black, it told the story of the tobacco plant growing like weeds, packed and baled and ported to the wharves of Montreal, whopped with fragrant emphasis into the warehouses of Macdonald, ripped and torn loose, sorted and stripped, flavoured and pressed, stamped and ready for the case, the counter, and the camp.

Every plug of that tobacco had in it the almost cosmic frugality of William Macdonald. In that sharp-lined, eagle-eyed face could be seen the lines of the proverb, “Waste not, want not.” A plug of tobacco in the making was to him a personal product, or why should the bush- man wink and say piously—“ Oh, Micdonald’s ”’?

High wages and dear tobacco-leaf reduced the size of the ten-cent plug as Macdonald himself began to shrivel a bit into the pucker of age. Plantation owners in the south knew what a hard buyer was Macdonald, who figured in fractions of a cent on cost of production. A factory hand who wanted a raise of pay without a corresponding increase either in the work or the cost of living must be inquired into by Macdonald. He knew his workmen. Whatever methods were in vogue in his factories or in his buying and selling, machinery must be explained to any commission by himself, never by a subordinate. If a Macdonald employee met with an accident or fell sick, he became the personal care of the firm, who professed to look after him better than any paternal lodge or insurance society.

Without chick or child or hobby but his business, Macdonald was the phantom at every man’s elbow. Why should any man waste time or material? Why should customers get less for their money because employees were allowed to squander in the factory, or because the head of the firm wanted a winter trip to the Bermudas? Why should customers pay a higher cost of production because some foreman wanted a more elaborate building or because other men with far less business on their books had luxurious offices? There was

Sir William Macdonald

no objection to electric light when it came, because it was a better and more economical light. Modern machinery was always welcome, so long as it turned out better goods at no higher cost, but the interest on investment must be carefully watched along with the depreciation.

As for the telephone—did it not make men lazy? Did most men transact any real business by long-distance

conversations? Why should a talk be interrupted by an , impertinent bell? No, the telephone must be postponed. |

Macdonald tobacco could be produced without it—for a while yet. 3 If Macdonald was always a personaliser of his busi-

ness, it was because he was a man with one idea at a

time and but one lifetime in which to work it out. He was a concentrator. Plenty of his friends had so many ambitions that they spent half their time presiding at directors’ meetings. Most of the successful men he knew were directors or presidents of half a dozen companies each. Macdonald could always find plenty of room for his personal energy in the one-man business of which he was the creator and the head. If he had time and energy to spare he found some way to invest it in that business—no other. Optimistic promoters of mining companies, land companies, gas and power companies never got much encouragement from Macdonald. Why should he lend his name to a dozen other concerns of which he knew nothing and had not time to learn? Every man to his trade; the cobbler to his last; Macdonald to his tobacco, his one directorship in the Royal Trust—and his stock in the Bank of Montreal. Ay, the bank! that was a great thing, a natural, neces- sary handmaid to business and a source of wealth. And William Macdonald remains to-day the heaviest share- holder in the Bank of Montreal.

Clubs again; why did so many men he knew belong each to half a dozen clubs? Relaxation, sociability, business acquaintance, social standing—psh! Macdonald needed none of these things. He had a comfortable home, many books, plenty of things to think about— and ideas taking shape for the future,



Sir William Macdonald

He had become a very rich old man. He had no family on which to spend money, no sons to whom he could leave it.

But there was a way for the lone man Macdonald to prove that he was not living for wealth and bank shares and business and self. He had never been uncharitable; but he had never believed in indiscriminate charity— especially in a new country like Canada where self- help was the law. But he knew how to give where his judgment found it was needed. And whenever he came to the full measure of his giving there should be no man in Canada, past or present, who could be set down by the newspapers as giving more—or as much. But it would never do to dissipate millions in riotous giving. What Macdonald chose to part with for the sake of the community and the country in which he had accumulated wealth must be as shrewdly administered as the business by which he began to make his money and the bank in which so much of it was wisely invested.

The world has known for a good many years what Sir William Macdonald has done to recreate McGill University; how his money and practical wisdom have changed McGill from a college with a classical turn to a great modern university with its fingers on every phase of twentieth-century life. But the sunny opti- mists who imagined that because he was giving millions to education he was ergo an easy mark for sociological benevolences were sometimes grievously jolted.

It was not very long after he began to give large sums to the cause of education that he received a call at his factory office from a man who had a benevolent hobby, a large but very needy down-town Methodist church in Montreal. Time after time the affairs of that big church, now worth at least a million dollars in foot frontages, had come before the General Conference. It became the perennial problem—how to save it to Methodism in Canada. Macdonald was not a Methodist. Born a Roman Catholic, he had pretty well given up interest in all church matters. ;

The visitor found the millionaire, as usual, hard to


Sir William Macdonald

get at. He was received by a dour and burly Scot, who as major-domo in a bareleg regiment would have been immense.

“Y’re wantin’ to see Mr. Macdonald? he repeated. “Ay, he’s in. But what is it y’d like to spier him aboot?

The visitor evaded the point.

“Weel, I'll tell him y’re wantin’ to see him.”

In a few moments the caller was let into the office, where he stated his benevolent business to the keen- eyed and wary philanthropist. He knew the caustic tongue of Macdonald, its withering irony, and its tactics of the claymore. Persuasively and discreetly he told the story, adding that a Methodist customer of Macdonald’s, who was a delegate to the Conference and purchased Macdonald tobaccos by the carlot, had asked him to elicit from the head of the firm what he would do to save this grand cathedral of Methodism.

The sharp eyes of the tobacco magnate gleamed with sudden interest. This was a plausible human suggestion. He called his clerk. The moment seemed auspicious.

Find out,” he said rapidly, “‘ what the account of Mr. is with this firm.”

The caller waited with nervous expectancy. He knew the yearly aggregate was very large, and surmised that with Scotch justice the magnate would ‘“‘ make the punishment fit the crime.”

The clerk returned with the figures. Macdonald did not reach for his pen and his cheque book.

“Write Mr. ,’ he snapped, “that his account with us is closed forthwith.”

The clerk gasped with amazement.

Say that the account is closed,” repeated Macdonald. “It makes no difference how large it may be. Mr. —— can’t use his connection with this business to hold it up for a donation to any cause, no matter if it is a church.”

Philanthropies are never pried out of Macdonald. When he established the Macdonald Agricultural College and Normal School with a large model farm attached at St, Anne de Bellevue up the Ottawa, he spent millions


Sir William Macdonald

on a project that he considered would be of some use to modern education in Canada. He did the same thing in a smaller way by founding the Macdonald Institute, a school for domestic science at the Agricultural College in Guelph, Ontario. He pursued the same modern set of ideas in his establishment of consolidated rural schools, believing that the old red schoolhouse with its isolated régime was too much a part of the backwoods era in Canada to be keeping up with the times.

If the affairs of these philanthropies, totalling more than $15,000,000, have got into print, it was through no publicity enterprise of Macdonald. In 1898, after he had begun to spend mi'ions on education, he was knighted by Queen Victoria. How he came to accept a title is still a mystery. The only sign he gave of having done so was to discard his old horse and phaeton and buy a smart coupé with a quick-stepping, well-groomed horse driven by a coachman.

So this strange old man of stubborn ways goes about Montreal with the mystery of the paradox always about him. His body is drying up, but his soul goes marching on. He is the dour old Scot with the twinkle in his eye and the spring of incurable energy in his limbs. He has the grit of a lion and the tenacity of his race at its most incorrigible height. No one ever heard of his giving any opinions about how to run a nation. He never instructs senators or parliamentarians. He speaks from no platform. His private politics are like his religion, and his business and his philanthropy largely a personal matter. He takes no stock in grand opera or in music of any sort. Mere amusement is no part of his programme. If the world must be amused—so let it be. Macdonald amuses himself. All there is of Macdonald outside the great business which his per- sonality made possible he embodies in the things that swallow his surplus millions. And if at any time the shade of the old founder McGill could be consulted he would probably be courteous enough to agree that the ' name of the big’Anglo-Canadian University in bi-lingual Montreal should be changed to Macdonald University.



He will be recorded in history as the Premier who at New Year 1916 called for a total Canadian Army of 500,000 men; whose government commandeered 15,000,000 bushels of wheat at terminal elevators and sent it to Europe; whose Finance Minister opened a domestic war loan of $50,000,000, which was subscribed twice over; whose Parliament, up till the beginning of 1916, had already voted $200,000,000 of a war loan. Men, money, materials—going out. Little but credit coming in. Every mortal thing done by the Borden government running into millions—expenditure; and not a soul on the other side of the House to make a word of protest.

Yes, the country is very loyal to the nation-making idea represented by Sir Robert Borden, the first Premier who ever governed this country by impersonality. This unstageable man almost woke up to find himself Premier in 191z. Years before he had begun to talk about getting the Liberals out. Since 1907 he had theorised about what his party would do if ever they got in. The Halifax Platform (see Hansard and the newspaper . files) contains all the recipes enunciated by Mr. Borden at Halifax, just before a general election. Perhaps Sir Robert Borden could recite that document to-day. If so, he smiles. That Halifax Platform is in the National Museum along with the National Policy, No Popery, and the Jesuits’ Estates Bill.

Sir Robert Borden is calling for soldiers—and more soldiers; millions of money and more millions. Rail- ways and steamships are carrying out troops and wheat ; factories making munitions; farms, offices, and stores sending men into camps; financiers raising war funds galore; women knitting, sewing, and organising and helping to recruit. Canada is not now being railroaded,


Sir Robert Borden

Europeanised, and subdivided. Gone into the cold per- spective of history is the deadlock over the Naval Aid Bill in 1912. Fast going into historical oblivion is the Nationalist Party that helped to elect Sir Robert Borden


So he goes with that Derby hat and thick overcoat, trudging a bit sidewise up Parliament Hill on winter days to the office of the Premier in the East Block— the man who never laughs in public. Step by step he cogitates. Resolutely he holds on his way. Courteously he bows to a member or a minister. On into his room, face chiselled like bronze for an Egyptian god, grey hair punctiliously parted amidships, faultlessly groomed, a thick grizzled moustache, and a steady eye—alwaysseem- ing to have plenty of time, forever seeming to make up his mind, discreetly shuffling over papers, reflectively reading; such a serious, meditative man. His secretary is staccato; Borden—always slowly polite and for the most part gently reasonable. In an hour he may con- scientiously get through a load of detail work and is ready for the first of a line of miscellaneous callers.

A green baize door opens and you face the Premier, at whose back a slow wood fire is burning, on his:right a big Gothic bow window overlooking the campus.

He rises, greets the visitor in a thick basso voice of unaffected cordiality, and motions him to sit in a chair which is discreetly screwed to the floor on the end of his desk. And until the interview is over this man of . slow mind and overwhelming sincerity says never a word that somehow does not seem to be part of a moral message.

He is the unstageable, unspectacular Borden; the man from Halifax, the lawyer who was born to be a judge, the citizen who was never cut out for politics, the gentleman who ordinarily never could have got through life without becoming a churchwarden.

In September 1915 the Prime Minister spoke before a vast audience in the Arena at Toronto. He had just returned from an extensive visit to the lines of battle and to England. Fresh from the headquarters of General


Sir Robert Borden

Joffre and Sir John French, from the trenches on the firing lines and the hospitals behind them; only the other day speaking on the same platform with Premier Asquith and Right Hon. Mr. Balfour; dined and con- ferenced; entertained by the King; given the freedom of the City of London at the heart of Empire—the Premier of Canada spoke to 10,000 people as though he were reading a story sent in a letter.

Sir Robert Borden cannot pretend to be what he is not by nature, who in moulding him left out most of the power of expression and compounded the man of duty, public service, conscience, absolute honesty of purpose, and the determination to be a statesman. Had he been created even Io per cent. a politician, he might have stopped to acquire some of the tricks of oratory for the sake of swaying the crowd that delights in the power of the spoken word. If he were less thoughtful, he might be more a man of action, no matter what form the action might take. Less than half so modest, he might have cast decorum to the winds and proceeded to tear a passion to tatters. Less altogether than he is of an admirable citizen he might have condescended to become for one hour something of an actor.

No man ever came before a united people: in this country with more to say—when he said less. He seemed weary. Filled as he was with the sentiment of an Empire being tried out in a great war whose outlines he had actually seen, whose smoke he had smelled, whose ravages he had witnessed, he acted as though he had been forced upon the stage to tell about it, and would be glad when the show was over. The impressions he had got remained his own. By a whim of creation he was denied the rare joy of translating those impressions to the multitude, in an age when demagogues are on almost every street corner shouting their heads off and saying nothing.

What does it matter whether the crowd be ten thou- sand in a tabernacle or a hundred in some country church? The message must be the same. The personality

-of the speaker in expression must be the same. The same


Sir Robert Borden stage setting must do for all the shows; the same plain, untheatrical, and mostly undramatic actor. Climaxes and big inspirational moments must be avoided. Thrills are dangerous and are followed by inevitable reaction. It is no business of a Prime Minister to be a revivalist.

As a leader of his party in the House, as a debater, as a dignified, clear-headed parliamentarian with the moral mastery over both himself and his party, the Premier is always admirable; a man whom it would be a pride to point out to any stranger wishing to see Canadian manhood in its most honest, straightforward embodiment. There he must be left. If the party or the people wish to drag him out for a show, they must be ' sure to provide actors enough to complete the bill.

It is of prime importance to remember how, when, and under what circumstances so impersonal a figure ever came to be Premier of Canada at a time when a world war is making marionettes of national figures the world over.

The Borden family migrated as United Empire Loyalists to the valley celebrated by Longfellow in the poem ‘‘ Evangeline.’’ Robert Laird Borden was born in the very village of which the poet prattled so musically in the opening lines:

In the Acadian land on the shores of the Basin of Minas,

Distant, secluded, still, the little village of Grand-Pré

Lay in the fruitful valley. Vast meadows stretched to the

eastward, Giving the valley its name... . Sea-fogs pitched their tents and mists from the mighty Atlantic

Looked on the happy valley, but ne’er from their stations

descended: There in the midst of its farms, reposed the Acadian village.”

And we may well imagine that the Borden homestead was the prettiest pastoral glimpse in many a mile. The Borden family, with that grave, serious sincerity spark- ling now and again into moderate mirth, attended to all duties devoutly, to church religiously, and lived amid an environment of perpetual peace.

Robert Laird Borden went to one of the little academies that were dotted almost as thick as light-


Sir Robert Borden

houses over the land of Evangeline and Sam Slick. While still a young man he became some sort of pro- , fessor in a little New Jersey college; afterwards came back to study law in Halifax, where in after years he became a comfortable, unpretentious lawyer; where he attended church regularly at wooden old St. Paul’s overlooking the mighty harbour and the square once clanking with the king’s soldiers, where up till a few years ago he sedulously sang in the choir amid the quaint relics of a bygone age.

No man can be a good Haligonian without a due sense of the historic and the decorous. In Halifax the past. gazes pensively at you on every corner; not romantically as in Quebec, but with a subdued, respectful aspect that makes you forget the once rollicking deviltry of Halifax’s military régime. The pomp of military days has become the manners.of the present. Garrison parades, society teas, church services, monuments, and old buildings continually remind the tourist that the first essential of civilisation is eminent respectability. There are business concerns in Halifax conducted by the same genteel snuff-taking methods that characterised the days of the Prince Consort. The English accent is everywhere. No true Haligonian cares for modernity. Old St. Paul’s church was built of lumber fetched in sailing vessels from Boston. It is cram full of relics, Halifax is the Boston _ of Canada and dignifiedly resents any billposter, real estate methods of getting on in the world. To be a decent Haligonian you must neglect a respectable part of busi- ness for society, politics; and religion; not forgetting the soldiers at the citadel and the young officers on the Niobe. Which, with the charmed outlook over the greatest harbour in America, is precisely what makes Halifax one of the most delectable cities in Canada in which to enjoy life. -_

R. L. Borden was a good citizen of Halifax. He had about him all the decorous, amiable qualities that make Halifax very largely what it used to be. You note this genteel persistency in the Premier’s face; a sort of moral and physiognomical tenacity that belongs rather to the


Sir Robert Borden >

middle-class aristocrat, respectable in trade, religion, and politics. The Sir Robert Borden of to-day, if he were habited in a brief cutaway, clinging check trousers, mutton-chop whiskers, and full black cravat, might easily be imagined doffing his colonial top hat at the ~ gate of wooden old St. Paul’s, the little Westminster Abbey of Halifax.

All through the earlier triumphs and later degeneracies of the Conservative party under Sir John Macdonald, the unpretentious lawyer remained in Halifax, not even attempting to get a seat in the Nova Scotia Legislature. In 1896 there was at least one surprise from the land © of Joseph Home and Charles Tupper. R. L. Borden was elected to the House of Commons for Halifax. His leader was Tupper who remained head of the Opposition until the election of 1900, when the Conservatives were again defeated. ;

There seemed to be but one man of the old Macdonald Cabinet with political acumen enough to lead anything more fractious than a nice family horse. That was George E. Foster, who was regarded as a cold, isolated impossibility. What was to be done? _

In such a predicament the Conservative party did something just to ease their own feelings and stop a gap till the Lord should send them another Macdonald. They chose Robert Laird Borden from Halifax. With all his obvious respectability, sincerity, integrity, patriotic enthusiasm, and average, everyday capacity for uninspired days’ works, they thrust this scion of a Loyalist house into the chair of Macdonald. And the - Caucus went off biting its finger nails as much as to say :

“Now, then, we’ve picked the honestest man in Canada to lead what the Liberals tried to prove was the most corrupt party organisation in Canadian history. What are you going to do about it?

Such was the condition of a temperamental party now led by an untemperamental man. Whither? No man knew. There seemed to be no Canaan now that Mac- donald was gone. The more apy loyal Conservative tried


Sir Robert Borden

to elucidate Borden, the more desperate the] plight of his party seemed to be. After all Borden might be only a stop-gap. Some other star might loom over the horizon. Borden seemed willing enough to please. At all events he could rally the party on the left sufficiently to keep Laurier and his college of dazzling experts from having’ it all their own way in a two-party House. é

And there was little else left to do. When R. L. Borden had the magnificent moral courage to take the leader- ship of the Macdonaldites in Canada, he knew that he had about as much personal volition in the case as the brazen serpent had when it was lifted up by Moses. But he had no intention of blazing any brilliant trail. It would take half a lifetime to obliterate the ghost of John A.

R. L. Borden calmly sat and waited. He was conscious of no great gifts as a leader. His experience in Parlia- ment had been limited; in politics much less. He knew nothing in actual practice of the devious ways of winning elections. Yet he came from a land where elections at that time used to be taken more seriously than in any other part of Canada.

Great movements were born during that decade 1901- IgI1; the new great West, the immigration era, the British Preference— begun in 1897—the second and third transcontinental railways, the birth of a greater and more prosperous Canada, the Alaskan Award, the rise of the Nationalist party to its balance-of-power status in Quebec, and the glorification of Laurier the magnetic French Canadian to almost the giddy height once enjoyed by his great rival John A. Macdonald.

In all these onward marches of men and events, Robert Borden was little’ more than a somewhat per- plexed, often baffled, but forever hopeful spectator ; until