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Title:Sir George Etienne Cartier
His Work for Canada and His Services to Montreal
Author: John Boyd
Release Date: February 19, 2021 [eBook #64593]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: Sonya Schermann, Martin Pettit and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)

Transcriber's Note:

Obvious typographic errors have been corrected.


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Sir George Etienne Cartier

His Work for Canada and His Services to Montreal



April 7th, 1913



Author of The Memorial History of the Life
and Times of Sir George Etienne Cartier

(To be issued in connection with the
Cartier Centenary Celebration, 1914)


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The accompanying address has been registered in accordance
with the Copyright Act by John Boyd.

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The great interest that has been aroused in the Cartier Centenary movement was shown by the large gathering which assembled at the Canadian Club luncheon in the Sailors' Institute on Monday, April 7th, 1913, to hear Mr. John Boyd speak on "Sir George Etienne Cartier, His Work for Canada and His Services to Montreal." The speaker's references to the work that Cartier had accomplished for Canada, and especially to the great services that he rendered to the City of Montreal, were enthusiastically applauded by the large audience of representative business men.

The accompanying address which includes a summary of Sir George Etienne Cartier's career and achievements is but a preliminary to the Memorial History of the Life and Times of Cartier which is now being written by Mr. John Boyd, and which will deal exhaustively not only with Cartier's career but also with the whole period covered by that career, one of the most memorable periods of Canadian history. The work will be published next year under the auspices of the Cartier Centenary Committee in connection with the great commemorative celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of Cartier's birth.

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His Work for Canada and His Services to Montreal.


Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:

The subject of the address which I have the privilege of delivering to-day is "Sir George Etienne Cartier, His Work for Canada and His Services to Montreal."

Let me at the outset, Mr. Chairman, express my deep appreciation of the honor the Executive of the Canadian Club has done me in inviting me to address the members of this important and representative organization.

When, in 1892, through the efforts of Mr. Charles R. McCullough of Hamilton, the first Canadian Club was organized, a movement was inaugurated of the utmost importance to the Dominion. Every important centre throughout the country now has its Canadian Club, and these organizations, or as they have been well termed, these "universities of the people" now numbering nearly one hundred, are doing a splendid work in fostering a spirit of patriotism and in creating that national sentiment which is so essential to Canada's welfare. The Canadian Club of Montreal, composed as it is of the most representative citizens of the commercial metropolis, has ever been foremost in this great work, and it is indeed a privilege to have the opportunity of addressing such a gathering.

What more appropriate subject, Mr. Chairman, could be found for an address before a Canadian Club, than the career of one of our great nation-builders, of one who helped to lay the foundations of Canadian nationality and of the Dominion's greatness?

It is not my intention, Mr. Chairman, nor would time permit on this occasion, to deal exhaustively with the life and achievements of Sir George Etienne Cartier. That is now engaging my attention in another form, and when the Memorial History of the Life and Times of George Etienne Cartier shall appear, it will, I trust be found to be at least an[Pg 8] exhaustive review of a great career and of one of the most memorable periods of Canadian history. On this occasion, owing to the limited time at my disposal, I shall content myself with reviewing succinctly Cartier's public career and achievements, dwelling briefly on the lessons of his life with special emphasis upon the great work that he did for Canada in general and the eminent services which he rendered to the City of Montreal in particular.

I shall take it for granted, Gentleman, that you are all conversant with the main facts of Cartier's career, from his birth at St. Antoine on the Richelieu River on September 6th, 1814, until his entrance to public life at the age of 34 in 1848, from that date until he became Prime Minister of United Canada in 1858, and from that until his death in 1873 when he held the portfolio of Minister of Militia and Defence in the Dominion Government.

Cartier's public career covered a period of some twenty-five years, that is to say from 1848 to 1873. What fruitful efforts, what herculanean labors, what great achievements, what struggles, defeats and triumphs were crowded within the compass of that career! The period which it covered was one of the most remarkable, if not the most remarkable, in the whole range of Canadian history. It was a period which witnessed many great constitutional changes, many transformations of parties, many fierce political struggles. It saw the beginning and the end of the Union, it marked the triumph of the long struggle for responsible government, it witnessed the birth of Confederation. It was a period fecund of great events and momentous developments, it was also a period rendered notable by the long succession of great statesmen whose names must forever be illustrious in Canadian history.

During all of that period Cartier played an active part and at times occupied a pre-eminent position.

At the beginning of his career, Cartier was a zealous reformer. In his youth like so many other ardent spirits of the time he came under the influence of Louis Joseph Papineau, when that great French Canadian tribune, with his incomparable eloquence, was thundering against those administrative abuses which were directly responsible for the troubles of the period. Nor was Papineau alone in his opposition to what Cartier described as the action of a minority which sought to dominate the majority and exploit the government in its own interests. Papineau, it should be remembered had the support of leading English-speaking Canadians, such as the distinguished Wolfred Nelson, afterwards Mayor of Montreal; in fact it is a noteworthy historical feature that some of the leading figures in the struggle for responsible government in Lower Canada were English-speaking. Cartier's participation[Pg 9] in the rising of 1837 was due to the ardor and impetuosity of youth and the sincere convictions he held that the prevailing evils called for drastic measures. His experience convinced him of the folly of an appeal to arms; he realized that the remedy for existing evils must be sought, not through armed resistance to the constituted authorities, but through constitutional agitation and legislative action. He became a staunch supporter of LaFontaine's policy, and one of his earliest campaign speeches was made in advocacy of the principle of ministerial responsibility during the crisis resulting from the resignation of the LaFontaine-Baldwin Government in 1844. In 1848, when Cartier first entered Parliament, the struggle for responsible government, thanks to the efforts of those two great statesmen, Louis Hypolite LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin, whose names will forever be held in the highest honor by all Canadians, had been fought and won. When justice had been secured and existing abuses remedied by the granting of responsible government, Cartier became, and ever afterwards continued to be one of the warmest supporters and most zealous champions of British institutions, a strong advocate of the maintenance of British connection and a passionate lover of the British flag.

Cartier was the destined successor of LaFontaine in the great work of reconstruction, pacification, and conciliation, and when LaFontaine retired in 1851, and was followed a few years later by that other eminent French-Canadian statesman, Auguste Norbert Morin, Cartier's path to the leadership of his native province was clear. For years he was the undisputed leader: his voice, as has been well said, was the voice of Quebec.

The struggle for responsible government having been won, an era of marked industrial expansion and development followed under the Union. It was an era of railway building, of canal construction, of the establishment of great public works. Cartier, owing to his practical qualities, his great business abilities, his mastery of details, and his administrative capacities, was eminently qualified to obtain a leading position during such a period. He achieved distinction as a reformer, as an able administrator, as a legislator, and as a constructive statesman. His name is attached to some of the most important Acts of a period prolific of important legislation. It is sufficient to mention in this connection such measures as the construction of the Montreal and Portland Railway, the decentralization of the judiciary, the codification of the civil laws and of civil procedure, the modification of the criminal law, the Municipal Act of Lower Canada, the Act relating to registration offices, the abolition of the seigniorial tenure, the choice of Ottawa as the Capital of Canada, the construction of the Grand Trunk Railway[Pg 10] and the Victoria Bridge, the organization of the educational system of Lower Canada, the improvement and deepening of the St. Lawrence, the building of canals, the union of the provinces of British North America, the acquisition of the North-West Territories, the construction of the Intercolonial Railway, the establishment of the Province of Manitoba, the admission of British Columbia into Confederation, the establishment of the militia system and the initiation of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

It would not be in accordance with that absolute truth which is demanded of history, to even infer that to Cartier alone is due the credit for the passage of all of these great measures. Many eminent men contributed by their efforts to their achievement. But to Cartier may fairly be adjudged the merit without detracting from the merits of others, of having taken an active part in the achievement of all of these important measures, of having devoted his great energies and abilities to their accomplishment, and of having played a determining part in the achievement of some of them. Some of these measures were of material benefit to the progress of the country. The legal reforms for which Cartier is entitled to the sole credit, constitute in themselves a monument to his wise statesmanship. Other measures in which he played a determining part, such as Confederation, were of an epoch-making character, in connection with Canada's national development and well-being. As an eminent French-Canadian writer, the late Senator Tassé, has well remarked, more than one of these measures would have been sufficient to immortalize Cartier. He was, to use Senator Tassé's words, at one and the same time a legislator, a founder of constitutions, a peaceful conqueror.

Cartier and Confederation

The greatest work in which Cartier participated, and in which it is freely acknowledged he played a determining part, was of course the establishment of Confederation. The idea of a union of all the provinces of British North America did not originate with Cartier, any more than it originated with Macdonald, Tupper, Tilley, Brown or the other great Fathers of Confederation. Proposals to that effect had been made long before, and the idea was one that had arisen in many minds as a desirable consummation and as a remedy for the chaotic conditions which then prevailed. But the idea was one that was heartily supported by Cartier from a very early period, and to the Cartier-Macdonald Government of which he became the head in 1858 as Prime[Pg 11] Minister of United Canada must be given the credit of having taken the first practical steps to bring about Confederation. One of the items of that government's programme was the union of the British North American provinces, and soon after the close of the session of 1858, a delegation composed of three members of the Government, Cartier himself, A. T. Galt, and John Rose went to England to press the matter upon the Imperial Government. A memorandum submitted to the Imperial authorities and signed by Cartier, Galt and Rose urged the Imperial Government to take steps to have a meeting of delegates from all the British North American provinces to consider the question of Confederation and to report upon it.

Though the steps taken in 1858 had no immediate result, the fact remains that the Government of which Cartier was the head, was the first to take up the question of the union of the British North American provinces, that, as the lamented Thomas D'Arcy McGee remarked in his great speech during the Confederation debate "the first real stage of the success of Confederation, the thing that gave importance to the theory in men's minds, was the memorandum of 1858, signed by Cartier, Galt and Rose. The recommendation in that memorandum" said McGee, "laid dormant until revived by the Constitutional Committee which led to the coalition, which led to the Quebec Conference, which led to the draft of the Constitution now on our table, and which" added McGee with assurance "will lead, I am fain to believe, to the union of all these provinces,"—an assurance, which was not long afterwards happily fulfilled.

Cartier was the leader of the Quebec wing of the Coalition Ministry. He was a delegate to the Charlottetown Conference, as well as a member of the Quebec Conference. He took a leading part in the Confederation debates, ably defending the measure against the attacks made upon it. With Macdonald, Brown and Galt he was deputed after the scheme had been adopted by the Legislature to go to England to confer with Her Majesty's Government; he was also one of the delegates who sat in Conference from the 4th to the 24th December, 1866, at the Westminster Palace Hotel in London, and at which a series of 69 resolutions, based on those of the Quebec Conference, were finally passed. The sittings of that famous conference were renewed early in January of 1867, a series of draft bills were drawn up, and revised by the Imperial law officers, a bill was submitted to the Imperial Parliament in February, and on March 29th, under the title of the British North America Act, it received the royal assent. A royal proclamation issued from Windsor Castle on May 22nd, 1867, appointed July 1st as the date upon which the Act should come into force, and the following[Pg 12] first of July witnessed the birth of what the Governor-General, Lord Monck, well designated as "a new nationality".

The men who assembled at Quebec on October 10th, 1864, to devise means for bringing about the union of the British North American provinces, had momentous problems to solve, but they were all men of the most ardent patriotism, of the broadest views, and with a firm determination to carry to a successful issue the great work with which they had been entrusted. How they succeeded in their task we all know. It has been well remarked by one of the biographers of Sir John A. Macdonald that there are three men besides Macdonald who in the establishment of Confederation and in securing the large results which followed from that epoch-making measure, demand special mention. Those men were George Etienne Cartier, Charles Tupper, and Leonard Tilley.[1] Justice demands that George Brown should also be named amongst the great Fathers of Confederation, for without the co-operation of that eminent Liberal statesman it is questionable whether Confederation under the circumstances could have been effected at that time. It was George Brown who made the proposals which rendered the coalition ministry possible, and by sinking all party considerations and personal differences in a grave crisis of his country's history, he performed a signal act of patriotism, which entitles his name to a high place on Canada's roll of honor. It was in fact a striking lesson in patriotism and in devotion to country, to find men like Macdonald and Cartier on the one hand, and Brown on the other, forgetting all past differences and even bitter personal animosities, and sitting at the same council board to devise means by which the public interests might be served at a most critical juncture. Nor, amongst the leading Fathers of Confederation must Sir A. T. Galt be forgotten, for that distinguished statesman was a most zealous advocate of Confederation, holding that unless a union was effected, the provinces would inevitably drift into the United States. During the parliamentary session of 1858 he strongly advocated the federal union of all the British North American provinces, and as has been justly said, the resolutions which Galt then moved in favor of such a union, entitle him to a high place amongst the promoters of Confederation[2].

Of the thirty-two statesmen who assembled at Quebec in 1864 and framed the Quebec resolutions which formed the basis of Confederation, but one survives to-day, and the Cartier Centenary movement has the privilege of having that great statesman whose name will forever be linked with the names of Macdonald and Cartier, as its patron. Still[Pg 13] hale and hearty in his 92nd year, Sir Charles Tupper enjoys the veneration and esteem of all Canadians. It has been justly said by Sir John A. Macdonald's biographer, that in the "reconciliation of Nova Scotia to Confederation; in carrying out a great expensive and hazardous railway policy; in the establishment of a national fiscal system; in making Canadian expansion compatible with complete allegiance to the Empire, the aid which Macdonald received from Sir Charles Tupper, can scarcely be exaggerated. In him great natural ability and power as a platform speaker were united with a splendid optimism about his country, a courage that feared nothing, and a resoluteness of purpose which despised any obstacles with which he could be confronted."[3]

It is not minimizing the services of any of the other illustrious Fathers of Confederation, to say that Cartier played a leading, in fact a determining part, in the achievement of that measure. His great colleagues have generously testified to the pre-eminent services which he rendered at that time.

"Cartier was as bold as a lion. He was just the man I wanted: but for him Confederation should not have been carried," was the emphatic declaration made by Sir John A. Macdonald on the day when he unveiled the statue of his great colleague at Ottawa.

Sir Charles Tupper's tribute is equally eloquent and emphatic. "I have no hesitation," he says, "in saying that without Cartier there would have been no Confederation, and therefore Canada owes him a debt that can never be repaid."

Dr Parkin in his life of Sir John A. Macdonald, in the "Makers of Canada" series, also pays a just tribute to Cartier for his work in connection with Confederation when he says: "Without Cartier's loyal help, it would scarcely have been possible, when the effort for union came, to allay the anxiety of the French-Canadians lest they should be swallowed up, and their individuality be lost in the large proposed confederacy."

Cartier's position at that time, it must be remembered, was an extremely difficult one, in fact, it is the difficulties which he then encountered and the manner in which he triumphed over them, that entitled him to all the more credit. "Never did a French-Canadian statesman" as an eminent French-Canadian writer has remarked, "have to face a greater responsibility than that which Cartier assumed the day when he had the alternative of accepting or refusing Confederation. Neither Papineau nor LaFontaine had to place in the balance such grave issues. Their role was reduced to demanding liberty[Pg 14] for Canadians. Cartier had to choose between a problematical future and a recognized state of affairs, with well defined advantages. Would as many guarantees be found in the edifice which was to be constructed? By accepting the confederation of the provinces, was it not leaving the certain for the uncertain? Such were the questions which agitated minds anxiously weighed."[4]

There was strong opposition to Confederation in Quebec as well as in other provinces. Cartier had to face the powerful attacks of redoubtable and able antagonists who maintained that Confederation would be detrimental to the interests of the French-Canadians. His contention was that with general interests entrusted to a central government and local interests to local legislatures, the rights of the French-Canadians would be amply safeguarded. Cartier maintained his position in the face of the most determined opposition and even against bitter personal attacks. He had his vindication when in the elections of 1867 the people of Quebec returned him to Parliament with a triumphant following.

And has not the course of events since Confederation vindicated the position which Cartier then took? The French-Canadians have not only enjoyed the fullest freedom in the direction of provincial affairs, but they have played a large and important part in the public life of Canada, a French-Canadian has occupied the exalted position of Prime Minister of the Dominion, and no matter whether they agree with his policy or not, all fair-minded Canadians must admit that Sir Wilfrid Laurier personally filled that great office with the utmost distinction, with credit to himself and to his country. Under Confederation there has been friction at times due in most cases to demagogic appeals to popular passion and racial feeling, but the sound common sense of the mass of the people has always asserted itself, and the governmental and legislative machinery has been found elastic enough to meet ever increasing demands.

A notable tribute was recently paid to Cartier and the other great Fathers of Confederation by that distinguished British statesman, diplomat, and author, Right Hon. James Bryce, when in addressing this Club a few weeks ago he said: "Not less remarkable than your material progress has been the growth of your constitutional government, although in its early days there were not wanting people to show that Canada could never be a great nation. Your federal system has worked on the whole with wonderful success and with little friction. It has worked perhaps better than anywhere else in the world; I think[Pg 15] the only example of equal success is that of Switzerland. You have had the great problem of two races living side by side, of peoples different in race and language, whom the federal system was designed to unite, while the federation of districts so dissimilar as the province of British Columbia, the prairies, and the Maritime Provinces shows that as far as adaptation to local conditions is concerned the federal system has been an unqualified success. And this success is a tribute to the capacity of the men who have governed as well as to those who framed the constitution."

The successful working of the federal system in Canada to which Mr. Bryce bore testimony, is another striking proof of the wise and far-sighted statesmanship of Cartier and the other public men who framed our constitution.

Other Great Measures

Confederation having been accomplished, Cartier's energies were directed to measures for the strengthening and defence of the national fabric. He was largely instrumental in determining the route of the Intercolonial Railway, and in having that road, which it is admitted has been a most important factor in consolidating the Dominion, completed. One of the most important measures of Cartier's public career, was undoubtedly the one which, as Minister of Militia and Defence, he presented to Parliament on March 31st, 1868, and which provided for the organization of the Canadian Militia, a measure that is the basis of our whole militia system.

Confederation, as you know, originally included only the four provinces of Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It was the desire of Cartier, as it was that of Macdonald, to see established a united Canada, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a great maritime as well as land power with the furthest east united to the furthest west by a great transcontinental railway system. When the union of the four provinces had been accomplished, Cartier was steadfast in his efforts to secure the accomplishment of the larger idea. He fully realized the possibilities of the great West and the importance of securing for the Dominion that vast territory, the development of which has been the marvel of the past quarter of a century. Largely through his efforts, the great western territory now forming the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, was secured from the Hudson's Bay Company on most advantageous terms. When we realize that this immensely rich territory, the "granary of the Empire" was[Pg 16] acquired for the Dominion for the insignificant sum of $1,500,000, largely through the negotiations which Cartier conducted in England, some idea of the importance of the services he rendered in that connection, may be formed. Cartier also framed the bill creating the Province of Manitoba, which he presented and had passed at the session of 1871. Only one thing was needed to round out Confederation, and that was the admission of British Columbia. In the negotiations which resulted in the admission of that great Province into the Dominion, Cartier played a leading part, and it was he, who on November 28th, 1871, presented the bill to Parliament providing that British Columbia should become a portion of the Dominion. On that occasion Cartier hailed the realization of his dream of a united Canada extending from ocean to ocean, with pardonable pride.

"I cannot close my explanations," he declared, "without impressing on the honorable members the greatness of the work. This young Confederation is on the point of extending over the whole northern portion of the continent, and when we consider that it took our neighbors sixty years to extend to the Pacific, where will be found in the history of the world anything comparable to our marvellous prosperity? I have always maintained that a nation to be great must have maritime power. We possess maritime power in a high degree. Our union with the maritime provinces gives us a seaboard on the east, and now our union with British Columbia will give us a seaboard on the west."

With the admission of British Columbia to Confederation, the dream of Cartier and of Macdonald, of a united Canada extending from ocean to ocean, was realized. But one thing more was required to bind the scattered provinces firmly together-a great transcontinental railway. Cartier was one of the strongest advocates of such an undertaking, and to him belongs the glory of having had passed the first charter for the Canadian Pacific Railway. One of the terms of the union of British Columbia with Canada under the Act presented by Cartier, was the construction of such a road. It is related that the delegates of British Columbia during the negotiations urged upon Cartier that a railway should be built across the Prairies to the foot of the Rockies, and that a colonization road should be laid out from the foot of the Rockies to the Coast. "No," replied Cartier, "that will not do; ask for a railway the whole way and you will get it." Some leading public men of the time thought that Cartier was willing to undertake too great an obligation, but events have more than justified his optimism. At the session of 1872, Cartier presented resolutions providing for the construction of the Canadian Pacific. After a [Pg 17]remarkable debate, a bill based on the resolutions was adopted, and Cartier, springing to his feet, gave utterance amidst loud cheers to the expression which has become historic: "All aboard for the West."

It was the last great triumph of his public career. He did not live to see the realization of his dream, for it was not until thirteen years afterwards, that is to say, on November 7th, 1885, that the last spike of the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven by Sir Donald Smith, now Lord Strathcona, at Craigellachie, a small village of British Columbia, and on July 24th, 1886, Cartier's great colleague and fellow-worker for a united Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald personally reached the Pacific by rail from Ottawa.

Though Cartier did not live to see the completion of the gigantic undertaking which meant so much for Canada, it is one of his chief merits that he was one of its initiators and strongest supporters, and that he foresaw and foretold its great future.

"Before very long", he declared, addressing Parliament, "the English traveller who lands at Halifax will be able in five or six days to cover half of the continent inhabited by British subjects."

How Cartier's prophecy has been fulfilled we all know. The traveller landing to-day at Halifax can reach Victoria by means of the Canadian Pacific in less than six days. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company has become one of the greatest corporations in the world, operating not only a great transcontinental railway, and a chain of palatial hotels, but also possessing magnificent fleets on the Atlantic and the Pacific, with its vessels now encircling the globe. It has progressed stage by stage until under the able direction of its present distinguished head, Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, it has attained the greatest position in its history. The company's expansion has in fact been one of the marvels of history, and with the continued development of the Dominion, its achievements, great as they have been, will undoubtedly be surpassed in the future. Cartier, by his strenuous advocacy of the construction of the road in days when faith in the future was at a discount, gave another evidence of his great foresight as well as of his faith in the future of the Dominion which he did so much to establish.

Cartier and Macdonald

No review of Cartier's career, however summary, would be complete without some reference to the alliance that existed between him and that other great Canadian statesman, Sir John A. Macdonald, an alliance which was for a long period a most important factor in the[Pg 18] public life of Canada. In his great painting "The Fathers of Confederation," the artist Harris most appropriately places Macdonald and Cartier conspicuously in the centre of the group, and the names of those two great statesmen must forever be linked in connection with that epoch making measure.

Macdonald and Cartier began their public careers within a few years of each other, Macdonald being first returned to Parliament in 1844, while Cartier became a member in 1848. The two men first became closely associated as members of the same Government, the MacNab-Taché Ministry, formed in 1855, in which ministry Macdonald held the portfolio of Attorney-General for Upper Canada while Cartier was Provincial Secretary, the first public office he held. From that time until the day of Cartier's death, the association between the two men remained practically unbroken. Their alliance, as has been well said, was based on equal consideration for the rightful claims of both nationalities.

Each of the two men had qualities not possessed by the other. Macdonald had a magnetic personality, he was a consummate tactician, an incomparable leader of men. He had that genius which enables its possessor to seize and make the most of an opportunity. He had that quality so indispensable in a great leader of gaining the loyal and devoted support of men of widely different characters and temperaments. Macdonald in short combined the grasp of a statesman with the arts of a politician. Cartier excelled as an administrator, he was a tireless and indefatigable worker who never spared himself and who expected others to follow his example. He studied and analyzed all subjects which he had to handle to the very bottom, and when he came to discuss them he had a complete mastery of all the details. He was strong, nay, even dogmatic, in his convictions; once his mind was made up he pursued the path he had marked out for himself with persistent determination, heedless of all obstacles in his way. To his followers his word was law, and he exacted from them an unswerving obedience. His energy was prodigious: he deserved the designation given to him by Gladstone when that great statesman said that Cartier was "un homme qui semble être légion",—a man who was a legion in himself. Cartier's was essentially a strong and determined character.

It was of course impossible that men of such different temperaments as Macdonald and Cartier and representing often such divergent interests, should not have their differences sometimes, but whatever differences they may have had never interfered with the high personal esteem and regard they entertained for each other.

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At a great banquet given in his honor by the Bar of Toronto on February 8th, 1866, Macdonald took occasion to pay a warm and generous tribute to his French-Canadian colleague who was one of the guests of honor.

"I wish to say," declared Macdonald, "that Hon. Mr. Cartier has a right to share in the honors which I am receiving to-night, because I have never made an appeal to him or to the Lower Canadians in vain. There is not in the whole of Canada a heart more devoted to his friends. If I have succeeded in introducing the institutions of Great Britain, it is due in great part, to my friend, who has never permitted under his administration that the bonds which attach us to England should be weakened."

Cartier was equally generous in appreciation of his great colleague. Speaking at a banquet tendered Macdonald by the citizens of Kingston on September 6th, 1866, Cartier said:

"Kingston is indeed a favored city, for it has for its representative a statesman who has never yet been surpassed in Canada, and who probably never will be in the future. I have had the happiness of being associated with the member for Kingston in my public career, and of having formed with him an alliance which has already lasted longer than all alliances of this kind in Canada. The success which we have obtained together has been due to the fact that we have repelled all sectional feelings and sought what might benefit Canada as a whole."

That was the keynote of the Cartier-Macdonald alliance, the subordination of all sectional and racial feeling to the welfare of Canada as a whole. Cartier throughout his long public career was essentially a peacemaker, who always strove to promote a better feeling between the two races. A striking testimony to the success of his efforts in that direction was given on one occasion in Parliament when Mr. Benjamin, a leading Ontario member, declared: "I cannot refrain from acknowledging that Mr. Cartier has done more to unite the two races and to re-establish harmony between them, than any other member of the House."

Well shall it always be for the Dominion, if its public men, no matter to what political party they may belong, always adhere to the sane and true principles upon which the Macdonald-Cartier alliance was based—mutual toleration and good-will, respect for the rights of all, the co-operation of races, the safeguarding of Canada's autonomy, and the development of Canadian nationality. The Macdonald-Cartier alliance in fact symbolized that union which should always exist between English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians. And why[Pg 20] should there not be union? What matters it whether we speak different languages or worship at different altars, if we always remember that we are all Canadians, mutually interested in the welfare and aggrandizement of our common country. That was the spirit which actuated both Cartier and Macdonald during their long association, and it will be well if such a spirit always prevails in the Dominion. It is only, in fact, upon such a basis that the permanence of Confederation, of which Macdonald and Cartier were the principal architects, can be assured.

For Canadian Nationality

The aim of Macdonald, Cartier, and the other great Fathers of Confederation, was to establish broad and deep the foundations of a Canadian nationality, based on the broadest principles of justice, tolerance, and equal rights. All their public utterances during the Confederation negotiations, testify to this fact. Macdonald's conception was that as the Dominion progressed it would become, to use his own words, year by year less a case of dependence on our part, and of overwhelming protection on the part of the Mother Country, and more a case of healthy and cordial alliance, that instead of looking upon us as a merely dependent colony, England would have in us a friendly nation—a subordinate but still a powerful people—to stand by her in North America in peace or war.

It is given to some men to have a vision that foresees the future and enables them to provide for momentous developments. Both Cartier and Macdonald were such men. It is in fact the supreme merit of Cartier that whilst always standing firmly for the rights of his French-Canadian compatriots, his vision was not confined to the Province of Quebec. If any one does, Cartier deserves the distinction of being known as a great Canadian. There was nothing narrow or provincial in his views. His idea was a united Canada, stretching from ocean to ocean, in which men of all races, languages and creeds should work together as brethren for the welfare and advancement of their common country. Cartier's desire was that his French-Canadian compatriots should not confine their attention to the Province of Quebec, but should take their full share in the life of the Dominion, that they should above all rejoice in the name "Canadian," be proud of the great Dominion and work for its welfare in co-operation with their English-speaking fellow countrymen.

"Objection is made to our project," says Cartier, in his great speech during the Confederation debates, "because of the words 'a new nationality'. But if we unite we will form a political nationality[Pg 21] independent of the national origin and religion of individuals. Some have regretted that we have a distinction of races and have expressed the hope that in time this diversity will disappear. The idea of a fusion of all races is utopian, it is an impossibility. Distinctions of this character will always exist, diversity is the order of the physical, moral and political worlds. As to the objection that we cannot form a great nation because Lower Canada is principally French and Catholic, Upper Canada English and Protestant, and the Maritime Provinces mixed, it is futile in the extreme.

"Take for example the United Kingdom, inhabited as it is by three great races. Has the diversity of races been an obstacle to the progress and the welfare of Great Britain? Have not the three races united by their combined qualities, their energy and their courage, contributed to the glory of the Empire, to its laws of wise, to its success on land, on sea, and in commerce?

"In our Confederation there will be Catholics and Protestants, English, French, Irish and Scotch, and each by its efforts and success will add to the prosperity of the Dominion, to the glory of a new Confederation. We are of different races, not to quarrel, but to work together for our common welfare. We cannot by law make the differences of race disappear, but I am convinced that the Anglo-Canadian and the French-Canadian will appreciate the advantages of their position. Set side by side like a great family, their contact will produce a happy spirit of emulation. The diversity of race will in fact, believe me, contribute to the common prosperity."

What words of wisdom! What a spirit of true patriotism, of justice and of toleration they breathe! If Cartier in fact had never made any other utterance than this, it would be sufficient to stamp him as a true patriot and wise statesman. It will be well for Canada if such are always the guiding principles of its national life.

While the idea of Macdonald and Cartier and the other great Fathers of Confederation was, as has been said, to establish a Canadian nationality, none the less was it their intention to perpetuate British institutions on the North American continent, to establish, to use Macdonald's expression, a friendly nation, enjoying, it is true, the most complete autonomy, but at the same time in alliance with Great Britain and the other portions of the Empire. No stronger believer in British institutions as the repository of freedom; no more ardent admirer of the British flag as the symbol of justice and liberty could be found than Cartier. In all his utterances during the Confederation, debates, he took special pains to emphasize that Confederation was intended not to weaken, but to strengthen, the ties between the Dominion, Great Britain[Pg 22] and the other portions of the Empire. "Confederation," he said, in one of his speeches on the measure, "has for its first reason our common affection for British institutions, its object is to assure by all possible guarantees, their maintenance in the future."

For the British flag Cartier on all occasions expressed a passionate devotion.

"The Canadian people," he said at a great banquet given in his honor in London in 1869, "desires to remain faithful to the old flag of Great Britain, that flag which waves over all seas, which tyranny has never been able to overcome, that flag which symbolizes true liberty".

These words expressed Cartier's deep and earnest conviction. During his several visits to Great Britain, he was deeply impressed by the greatness of British institutions. On those occasions he was the recipient of signal marks of honor; he was the personal guest of Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle for some time, and he received marked attention from Gladstone, Lord Lytton, and other distinguished British statesmen. His services in connection with the establishment of Confederation, as you know, were recognized by the conferring of a baronetcy upon him by Queen Victoria.


Having reviewed the great work which Cartier did for Canada in general, permit me to emphasize the eminent services which he rendered to Montreal. It is doubtful whether many Montrealers of the present generation fully realize the importance of Cartier's services to this city, and for that reason this portion of his career should be of special interest to citizens of this great metropolis.

From 1861 until 1872, Cartier was one of the representatives of Montreal, first in the Parliament of United Canada, and afterwards in the House of Commons. During a portion of that period, he also represented Montreal-East in the Quebec Legislature under the system of dual representation which prevailed for some time following the establishment of Confederation. Montreal's interests were always dear to Cartier's heart, and throughout his long public career he zealously strove to promote the welfare and development of this city.

Reference has already been made to the interest which Cartier showed from the outset of his career in railway construction. He realized that in order that Montreal might attain an unrivalled position, it would be necessary that railway communications should be established,[Pg 23] that the St. Lawrence channel should be deepened, and that canals should be constructed and improved. One of the earliest of his speeches of which we have record was delivered at a great mass-meeting of the citizens of Montreal, held in 1846, on the Champ de Mars, to promote the construction of the Montreal & Portland Railway to connect Montreal and Portland. Cartier on that occasion declared that such an undertaking was a truly national work. Alluding to the fact that property in such cities as Buffalo, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, which had become great railway terminals, had as a result greatly increased in value, he declared that the same thing would happen in the case of Montreal if adequate railway facilities were established.

"The prosperity of Montreal," he said, "depends upon its position as the great emporium for the commerce of the West, and we can only assure that prosperity by better means of transport from the waters of the West to the Atlantic by our canals and railways."

When he became a member of Parliament Cartier continued his agitation for adequate railway facilities, and one of the first speeches he delivered in the legislature of United Canada, February 15th, 1849, was in advocacy of the completion of the Montreal & Portland Railway.

"There is no time to lose in the completion of the road," said Cartier on that occasion, "if we wish to assure for ourselves the commerce of the West. All the cities of the Atlantic Coast are disputing for that commerce."

Referring to the efforts being made by New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and other American cities to capture this commerce, Cartier said: "In seeing the efforts that an intelligent population is making, we cannot doubt the importance of the trade of the lakes which they covet and the profits which will result. Now, we may secure the greater part of that trade by constructing this road as soon as possible."

At another great mass meeting of the citizens of Montreal, held at the Bonsecours Market on July 31st, 1849, at which resolutions were adopted favoring the completion of the Montreal & Portland Railway, on motion of Cartier, seconded by John Rose, it was resolved that the city should take shares in the company. Cartier on that occasion made a fervent appeal that the interests of Montreal should be considered.

"I do not fear to say," he declared, "that Montreal will be recreant to its best interests, and will be the most backward of cities if it neglects the means that is offered it to reclaim a prosperity which is now leaving it. I appeal to the large proprietors, to the small proprietors who make the prosperity of the large ones, and to the[Pg 24] industrial and working classes which make the prosperity of both. We have an exceptional chance to attract foreign capital. The city has only to guarantee a bagatelle compared to the enormous debts contracted by the smaller cities of the United States to attract capital which passes through the hands of tradesmen and workingmen, to relieve trade which is languishing. It is an advantage which will be enjoyed even before the work is completed."

Cartier pointed out that New York had contracted a debt of $25,000,000 to provide proper railway facilities, as it had sufficient faith in itself and in the spirit of enterprise of its citizens to discount the future.

"The time has come," said Cartier, addressing the citizens of Montreal, "to belie your reputation as apathetic men without energy and without a spirit of enterprise. Let those terms cease to be applied to the name 'Canadian'. This great meeting is one of the first to be held in a city of the British Provinces to encourage an enterprise of this importance. It is proper that the example should come from Montreal, the commercial head of British America. It should show itself worthy of its position. Let us arouse ourselves, let us agitate."

Cartier had the vision to foresee the great future in store for Montreal, if adequate transportation facilities were provided.

"Montreal," he prophetically declared on the same occasion, "is destined to become the great emporium for the West. Without railways and canals it will be impossible for it to attain the glorious position which will make it one of the principal cities of the continent."

Largely as the result of Cartier's persistent efforts, the Montreal & Portland Railway which for a long time was the only outlet during the winter for Canadian produce, destined for Europe, was completed, and inaugurated in 1851, being subsequently absorbed by the Grand Trunk Railway Company. Before the completion of this road, it must be remembered that there were only some seventy miles of railway in all Canada, the first road, the Laprairie and St. John's having been opened only a few years before, that is to say on July 21st, 1836. When we consider that to-day the total mileage of railways in Canada is 35,000 miles, that last year our combined railways built 1,970 miles of new railway, on which was spent $30,000,000, and that the programme for this year provides for 2,700 miles of new track, costing $41,000,000, some idea may be obtained of the advance that has been made. Cartier deserves the credit of having been one of the first to realize the [Pg 25]importance of railway construction in connection with the development of the country and of having been one of the strongest supporters of a forward policy in this respect—a policy to which we owe the three splendid railway systems we have to-day—the Canadian Pacific, the Grand Trunk, and the work of those two great railway men, Sir William Mackenzie and Sir Donald Mann—the Canadian Northern.

One of Cartier's chief claims to honor is that it was he who secured the incorporation of the Grand Trunk Railway Company, which has done so much for the development of Canada in general, and the City of Montreal in particular. Cartier always took the greatest pride in that fact. In a speech delivered in the legislature he declared that he regarded the construction of the Grand Trunk as the greatest benefit that had ever been conferred on the country. "I had charge of the Act which created the Grand Trunk Railway," he added, "and I am prouder of that than of any other action of my life." The Grand Trunk at the outset of its history had many difficulties, financial and otherwise, to encounter, and it was due to Cartier's efforts in a large measure, that the company was able to tide over these difficulties and that its success was assured.

Reviewing his public career at a great banquet given in his honor by the citizens of Montreal, on October 30th, 1866, on the eve of his departure for London as one of the Confederation delegates, Cartier referring to the efforts he had made on behalf of the Grand Trunk said: "In 1852-53, encouraged by the Hincks-Morin Ministry, I asked for the incorporation of the Grand Trunk Railway Company, and I had it voted despite the most furious opposition. I also had the construction of the Victoria Bridge voted. You will recall the prejudices there were against that measure. It was a work which would produce floods in Montreal, it was a means to divert commerce towards Portland. But the prejudice, against these great measures were soon dissipated, it was only a passing tempest. It was so, too, for the Grand Trunk and the Victoria Bridge. The Grand Trunk and the Victoria Bridge have flooded Montreal with an abundance of prosperity. What would Montreal be without the Grand Trunk? It has assured for us the commerce of the West."

Addressing the electors of Montreal-East when seeking re-election in 1867, Cartier, referring to the construction of the Victoria Bridge, said: "You know that there existed considerable jealousy or rivalry between Quebec and Montreal, and that the two cities sought at the same time to secure the possession of a bridge across the river. I will not stop to discuss the advantages of such a bridge. Thanks to my efforts I am proud to be able to say Montreal finally secured it.[Pg 26] Montreal has the Victoria Bridge. The results you know. Our city since then has had a considerable development which Confederation, I am certain, will increase."

When we consider the important factor that the Grand Trunk Railway Company has been in the development of Eastern Canada, and what its associate company, the Grand Trunk Pacific, will be in the opening up and development of rich new districts in the West, it will be realized that Cartier in the part he played in the creation and assistance of this great railway system, rendered another most important service to Canada.

St. Lawrence navigation and the advancement of the Port of Montreal found in Cartier a steadfast advocate, and the Allan Line which was the pioneer in ocean navigation via the St. Lawrence, secured from him the heartiest encouragement and support. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly in 1860, in favor of a proposal to increase the mail subsidy to the Allans, Cartier warmly supported means to increase navigation by the St. Lawrence. It was humiliating, he declared, to see nearly all our imports arriving by the steamships, the railways, and the canals of the United States. "Let us rise," he said, "to the height of the changes wrought by progress, for we are at the beginning of a new era which will eclipse anything we have yet seen." The improvement of the harbor and port of Montreal always found in Cartier a zealous advocate, as he fully realized how important it was for Montreal's progress and prosperity.

Cartier persistently advocated the enlargement of the canals, so as to divert the commerce of the West from American ports to this port, and thus benefit the City of Montreal. In a speech on the deepening of Lake St. Peter, delivered in the Parliament of United Canada on May 11th, 1860, he said: "Up to the present all our debt has been contracted for the execution of very important public works—the Welland Canal, the St. Lawrence Canal, the Rideau Canal, the Lachine Canal, etc. But we have not yet attained our object, which is to divert the commerce of the great lakes from the American routes to the St. Lawrence. This commerce continues to pass by New York and Pennsylvania, and all that we see is the traffic destined for Ogdensburg and Oswego. What means should be taken to remedy this condition of affairs? We have come to the conclusion to abolish all tolls on the canals, and to make the St. Lawrence route perfectly free from the ocean to the great lakes."

In reply to a remark by George Brown that the measure seemed to be designed to attract the commerce of the West to Montreal, to the detriment of Upper Canada, Cartier said: "I do not see why it should[Pg 27] be apprehended that Montreal will secure so many advantages from this amelioration. This city is at the head of navigation, and is the principal centre of commerce; it is inspired by the spirit of progress, and I believe that in place of jealousy, all should be proud of its success. Whatever they can do, they can never prevent its being the most important city of the country, and from becoming a rival of the great American cities."

Reference has been made to the prominent part that Cartier took in advocating the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway; and in desiring to see the accomplishment of that great undertaking, he had an eye to the interests of Montreal. In a speech to the electors of Montreal-East on August 8th, 1872, he promised that Montreal would be the principal terminus of that great road. "I have," he said, to the citizens of Montreal on that occasion, "devoted all my efforts to further your interests and I have always desired that Montreal should have the lion's share."

The mercantile and business interests always found in Cartier a friend, in fact had he not been a public man, it is likely that his inclinations would have made him a great business man.

"Merchants," he said, speaking at a dinner tendered him by the merchants of Quebec, on December 23rd, 1869, "contribute greatly to the progress of the country. Without the English merchants, England could not have kept its possessions in the world. Like Rome she would have lost her Colonies soon after their conquest. But the English merchant was the means of forming bonds between the new possessions of the Empire. I respect the interests of those here present. Those interests have greatly contributed to render Canada prosperous. Those who devote themselves to commerce form in every country one of the most important classes of society."

Cartier's efforts on behalf of the mercantile interests of Montreal, and his faith in the future of this city never wavered, and he predicted its great expansion in wealth and population.

"Our city," he said, addressing the electors of Montreal-East in 1867, "now counts 150,000 souls. In twenty years under Confederation, I predict that it will have more than 250,000 inhabitants."

How Cartier's faith in Montreal has been justified, we all know. What was at the time he spoke a town of 150,000 people, has become a great metropolis of over 600,000 souls, and it is destined to have before many years a population of over one million people.[Pg 28] As Montrealers we are all, as we have a right to be, proud of the great position which the city has attained, and of the still greater future which awaits it. Let us, in its day of greatness not forgot those, like Cartier, who in the days of small things foresaw the great future before Montreal and gave their best efforts to promote its interests.

To the very end of his public career, Cartier's interest in the welfare of Montreal and his efforts to promote its advancement continued. His own words conveyed but the simple truth when he said in one of his last addresses, to his fellow citizens: "I frankly avow that all that my heart inspires, all that my knowledge and experience furnish, have been devoted to the welfare and prosperity of my compatriots in general and of Montreal in particular."

Like many other statesmen, Cartier experienced the vicissitudes, as well as the triumphs, of public life. His last appeal to the electors of Montreal, made when he was practically a dying man, resulted, owing to a combination of circumstances, in his crushing defeat. He was greeted not with bouquets but with stones, from people of a city for which he had worked so hard, and for the advancement of which he had done so much. Another seat was found for him in Provencher, Manitoba, but his public career was over. In an effort to secure the restoration of his health he went to England, but the hope was vain: the incessant labors of a long public career had broken down a naturally robust constitution, and the great statesman passed away in London, England, on May 23rd, 1873. His last thoughts were for his beloved country.

"Say to his friends in Canada," wrote one of his daughters in a touching letter announcing his death to a friend in Montreal, "say to his friends in Canada that he loved his country to the last, that his only desire was to return. Two days before his death he had all the Canadian newspapers read to him. Even his enemies, I hope, will not refuse to admit that before all he loved his country."

The national mourning that followed the announcement of his death, the enconiums pronounced by the newspapers of all shades of opinion, the eulogies delivered in Parliament, the scene of his labors for so many years, and the imposing public funeral that was given his remains in Montreal, all bore eloquent testimony to the fact that the Canadian people, regardless of party, recognized that in his death Canada had indeed lost one who before all had loved his country. His remains rest beneath the soil of Mount Royal, which overlooks the city that he loved so well, and for the interests of which he worked so hard.

[Pg 29]

Lessons of Cartier's Life

What were the lessons of Cartier's life? They may be summed up in the three words—patriotism, duty, and tolerance. He loved his country and sought to promote its interests, he wore himself out in the discharge of his public duties, he was a man of the broadest views and the utmost tolerance. As Sir Adolphe Routhier has well remarked, to most public men public life is a career, but for Cartier it was an apostolate, a patriotic mission, and to fulfill that mission he sacrificed everything, even the modest fortune of which his family had need.[5]

A French-Canadian and proud of his origin, a Roman Catholic and true to his faith, strong in his convictions, Cartier at the same time was a man of generous sympathies, of broad views, and great tolerance. His charity was broad enough to include men of all races, languages, and creeds. "My policy, and I think it best," he said on one occasion, "is respect for the rights of all." Actuated by that spirit he stood firmly on all occasions where there was justification for the rights of minorities, whether French or English, Catholic or Protestant. At the time of Confederation, for instance, some fear was expressed that the interests of the Protestant minority of Quebec would be jeopardized under the new constitution. Cartier pledged his word that nothing of the kind would happen. "I have already had occasion to proclaim in Parliament," he said, addressing the citizens of Montreal, "that the Protestant minority of Lower Canada have nothing to fear from the Provincial Legislature under Confederation. My word is given, and I repeat that nothing will be done of a nature to injure the principles and the rights of that minority."

Cartier's pledge, it is needless to say, has been sacredly kept.

On the same occasion, Cartier showed his largeness of views by declaring: "You know that I am a Catholic. I love my religion, believing it the best, but whilst proudly declaring myself a Catholic, I believe it my duty as a public man to respect the sincerity and the religious convictions of others. I am also a French-Canadian. I love my race. I of course have for it a predilection which is assuredly only natural, but as a public man and as a citizen, I also love others." Such were Cartier's guiding principles throughout life.

Cartier, like all other human beings, had his faults, as well as his virtues, his public career was not without its mistakes, but nobody ever questioned his ardent love for his country, his absolute sincerity, his high sense of honor, his personal honesty and integrity, his[Pg 30] fearless energy, and the firmness with which he always stood for his convictions. His motto "Franc Et Sans Dol"—"Frank And Without Deceit," well describes the character of the man.

Did time permit, Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, a great deal more might be said of Cartier and his works. But has not sufficient been said to justify the contention that Cartier was a great Canadian, a nation-builder in the truest sense of that term, one whose memory is entitled to lasting honor from all Canadians? Does not the summary record of his career, which has been given, amply justify the declaration of the great Lord Dufferin that Cartier's name must forever be indissolubly incorporated with the most eventful and most glorious epoch of his country's history, commencing as it did with his entrance into political life and culminating in that consolidation of the Provinces to which his genius, courage and ability so materially contributed.

Macdonald, Cartier, Tupper, Tilley, Brown, Galt, and the other great Fathers of Confederation builded better even than they knew. As the result of their wise statesmanship and patriotic efforts, Canada to-day stands a young giant amongst the peoples of the world. Under Confederation there has been witnessed a marvellous expansion and an unprecedented prosperity. We have to-day, to use the words of one of the most patriotic of our national poets, John Daniel Logan,—we have to-day a land:—

Blessed with youth and strength, with health and peace.

And great as is the position of the Dominion at present, it is insignificant to what it will be if Canadians are only true to the teachings of the Fathers, if they all work together for the common welfare, if they are true to the national interests of the Dominion, and guard their great heritage against all influences of an insidious character.

Honor Cartier's Memory

Canadians do well to honor the memories of those great men who laid broad and deep the foundations of Canadian nationality, and who accomplished great works for the welfare of the Dominion. In the leading cities of Canada, stately monuments attest the recognition of a grateful people of the services of that great Father of Confederation, and that illustrious Canadian statesman, Sir John A. Macdonald. Brown and Tilley, too, have their monuments. Sir Charles Tupper is still happily with us in person, and I am sure that we all trust that his life may long be spared. His name will always be remembered as that of one of the leading Fathers of Confederation and one of our greatest statesmen.

[Pg 31]

Does not justice demand that fitting honor should be done to that other great Father of Confederation, Sir George Etienne Cartier, by the erection of a memorial in the city which he represented in Parliament for so many years, and for whose interests he strove so zealously?

When in November, 1910, at a meeting held at the St. Jean Baptiste Market Hall in this city, it was proposed by Mr. E. W. Villeneuve, now president of the Cartier Centenary Committee, whom we have with us to-day, that the centenary of Cartier's birth should be appropriately commemorated and that steps should be taken for the erection of a monument to his memory, the proposal was enthusiastically taken up. Since then the movement has assumed not only a national but an Empire scope, and representatives of every portion of the Empire will be present at the commemorative celebration next year. The movement, it may be mentioned is absolutely non-partisan in character, it being recognized that Cartier's memory is a national possession. The Prime Minister of the Dominion, Right Hon. R. L. Borden; the leader of the Liberal Party, Sir Wilfrid Laurier; the Prime Minister of the Province of Quebec, Sir Lomer Gouin; the Prime Ministers of all the Provinces; leading Liberals as well as Conservatives, throughout the Dominion, have united to render homage to the memory of one who did so much for Canada. Thanks to the co-operation and support of the Dominion Government and the Governments of all the Provinces, the erection of a splendid memorial, which will stand on one of the slopes of Mount Royal, and the first stone of which will be laid by His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, on September 1st next, is now practically assured. The memorial, the work of the eminent Canadian sculptor, Mr. G. W. Hill, will not only serve to honor and perpetuate Cartier's memory, but will also commemorate the establishment of Confederation, in which he played such a conspicuous part. In addition to the imposing statue of Cartier the memorial will bear statues representing every one of the nine provinces of the Dominion, the whole symbolical of that United Canada, which was one of Cartier's cherished dreams.

In connection with the unveiling of the memorial, it is proposed to hold a series of commemorative celebrations, and it is confidently expected that the citizens of Montreal, ever alive as they are to the interests and reputation of the commercial metropolis, will give their hearty support and co-operation in making the celebration worthy not only of the memory of the great statesman, but also of the leading city of the Dominion, with which he was so closely identified.

And when, Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, on the 6th of September of next year, the one hundredth anniversary of Cartier's birth, amidst[Pg 32] the plaudits of hundreds of thousands of Canadians of all origins, creeds, and political leanings, the veil shall be removed from the magnificent memorial which shall stand on one of the commanding slopes of Mount Royal, testifying to the grateful recognition of the whole Dominion, justice shall have been done to the memory of one who loved his country, who accomplished great works for its benefit, whose heart was ever stirred by that feeling of ardent devotion to his native land which he himself expressed in those burning words of patriotism:

"O Canada, Mon Pays, Mes Amours!"[6]

[Pg 33]


of Sir George Etienne Cartier.

By John Boyd

For the Cartier Centenary.

"One's own land is best of all,"
So an ancient adage says;
To sing it is the poet's call,
Mine be to sing my fair land's praise.
Strangers behold with envious eyes
St. Lawrence's tide so swift and grand,
But the Canadian proudly cries,
O Canada, my own beloved land!
Rivers and streams in myriad maze
Meander through our fertile plains,
Midst many a lofty mountain's haze,
What vast expanse the vision chains!
Vales, hills and rapids, forest brakes—
What panorama near so grand!
Who doth not love thy limpid lakes,
O Canada, my own beloved land!
Each season of the passing year,
In turn, attractions hath to bless.
Spring like an ardent wooer, dear,
Besports fair flowers and verdant dress;
Summer anon prepares to wrest
The harvest rare with joyful hand;
In Fall and Winter, feast and jest.
O Canada, my own beloved land!
[Pg 34]Canadians, like their sires of old
Revel in song and gaily live,
Mild, gentle, free, not overbold,
Polite and gallant, welcome give.
Patriots, to country ever leal,
They, foes of slavery, staunchly stand;
Their watchword is the peace and weal
Of Canada, their beloved land.
Each country vaunts its damsels fair,
(I quite agree with truth they boast)
But our Canadian girls must share
The witching charm of beauty's host,
So lovely they and so sincere,
With that French charm of magic wand,
Coquettish just to make them dear.
O Canada, my own beloved land!
O my country, thou art blest,
Favoured of all the nations now!
But the stranger's vile behest
Would the seeds of discord sow.
May thy brave sons for thy sake
Join to help thee, hand in hand,
For thy great day doth e'en now break,
O Canada, my own beloved land!

[Pg 35]


[1] Dr. Parkin—Life of Sir John A. Macdonald.

[2] John Lewis, Life of George Brown.

[3] Dr. Parkin—Life of Sir John A. Macdonald.

[4] A. D. DeCelles, Cartier Et Son Temps.

[5] Sir Adolphe Routhier-Conférence sur Sir George Etienne Cartier, issued by the Cartier Centenary Committee in pamphlet form.

[6] See following pages.

[7] The above which is a faithful translation of the famous French-Canadian national song, "O Canada Mon Pays, Mes Amours," is intended simply to give the sense of the original. The song was composed in 1835 by George Etienne Cartier, then a young man of 21 who was destined to become one of the most illustrious figures in Canadian history. Cartier was for some time secretary of the St. Jean Baptiste Association which was founded by Ludger Duvernay in 1834, and it was at the first celebration of St. Jean Baptiste day held in Montreal in 1835, that the song was sung for the first time by Cartier himself.

As the result of the indefatigable efforts of the president of the Cartier Centenary Committee, Mr. E. W. Villeneuve and those associated with him in this patriotic undertaking, the Centenary of Sir George Etienne Cartier's birth will be commemorated in 1914 by the unveiling of a magnificent monument on Mount Royal, and a series of historic celebrations. A brilliant success is assured for the Centenary celebration, and the splendid memorial which will stand on one of the slopes of Mount Royal will forever commemorate the illustrious career of Cartier and the great work of Canadian Confederation with which he was prominently identified.

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