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Title: New History for Old. Discussions on aims and methods in writing and teaching history.
Author: Pierce, Lorne Albert (1890-1961)
Date of first publication: 1931
Edition used as base for this ebook: Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1931 [J. Clarence Webster Lectureship in Canadian History, Mount Allison University, New Brunswick] [first edition]
Date first posted: 16 March 2012
Date last updated: 16 March 2012
Project Gutenberg Canada ebook #925

This ebook was produced by: Al Haines

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New History for Old


Delivered on the J. Clarence Webster Lectureship in Canadian History
at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick


La pensée dominante de ma vie a été
d'harmoniser les différents éléments
dont se compose notre pays. La pensée
est vraie et elle finira par triompher.

                            —Sir Wilfrid Laurier.


The Webster Lectureship in Canadian History
Mount Allison University

I. History and Present-Day Problems (1924)
        Senator John Stewart McLennan, D.C.L., F.R.S.C.

II. Behind the Scenes of Canadian War History (1925)
        Colonel William Wood, F.R.S.C.

III. The Discovery of Canada (1926)
        Lawrence J. Burpee, F.R.S.C.

IV. French Canadian Co-operation (1928)
        Professor Edouard Montpetit, Litt.D., LL.D.

V. New History for Old (1930)
        Lorne Pierce, LL.D., F.R.S.C.


Copyright, Canada, 1931,
Mount Allison University



      1. Why Cherish Canadian Literature?
      2. The National Ideal: English and French Elements
      3. Gestures toward the Bonne Entente
      4. What Shall We Gain?
      5. The True Academy

      1. The Aims of Education
      2. History: The Record of Man's Quests
      3. The Theme Method in History
            i. World History
           ii. The History of Britain
          iii. The Story of Canada
      4. History as a Training for Citizenship

      1. Through History to Life
      2. Contributions of Canadian Literature:
            i. Fiction
                  (a) French
                  (b) English
           ii. Poetry:
                  (a) French
                  (b) English
          iii. Drama
           iv. Legend
            v. Settlement Sketches and Chroniques
      3. Contributions of Canadian Art
      4. Magnificent Obsessions
      5. Adventures in Local History:
            i. Amateur Antiquarians
           ii. History as Drama
          iii. History as Art
           iv. The Beloved Community
      6. The Magic of the Soil


I wish to express my very high appreciation of the honour and privilege tendered me by the President of Mt. Allison University, and by the founder of the Lectureship. To be numbered among those who have spoken under these auspices is no ordinary distinction. My chief pleasure, however, is in being able to discuss in some detail, a few thoughts which had their birth in Sackville several years ago. The question arose regarding the teaching of Canadian History and Literature. Could there be an alliance between the two in fostering and promoting a vivid and intelligent national self consciousness? Might not both be vitalized and enriched by associating them with the local tradition? I was thinking of this Mount Allison, and of the literary and historical traditions enshrined in the words Chignecto and Tantramar which it inherited, and, in a sense, perpetuated. These two queries suggested a third: How can the aims and methods of teaching history and literature during those strategic years, between grades VII and XII, be improved?

These problems I have already attempted to answer in several texts for schools, offering a practical, though perhaps, tentative formula. The generous encouragement which they have received in departmental authorisation, and in the gratifying results which they have achieved in our schools, will in some way justify these talks. Hitherto those who have spoken on the Webster Foundation have been concerned with episodes and problems in our history; my task is simply to show, as best I can, how these characters and events and problems may take on new significance in the building of our young Dominion.

L. P.

Dominion Day,
Toronto, 1930


It is so much easier to be prosperous than it is to be civilized... Self-respect, self-confidence and self-support are as essential to a nation as to an individual. This is the starting point in nation-building ... Fichte well understood the fundamental difference between the Nation and the State, and his searching and moving appeal was for the building of a German Nation on spiritual and intellectual foundations so strong that they could not be moved.—Nicholas Murray Butler, "Imponderables," an Address before the Reichstag, 1930.

A Canadian nationality ... not French-Canadian, nor British-Canadian, nor Irish-Canadian: patriotism rejects the prefix—is, in my opinion, what we should look forward to, that is what we ought to labour for, that is what we ought to be prepared to defend to the death... I see in the not remote distance one great nationality, bound, like the shield of Achilles, by the blue rim of the ocean.—Thomas D'Arcy McGee.

Such a union would at once decisively settle the question of races; it would enable all the provinces to co-operate for all common purposes: and above all, it would make for a great and powerful people ... I am, in truth, so far from believing that the increased power and weight that would be given these colonies by union would endanger their connections with the Empire that I look to it as the only means of fostering such a national feeling throughout them as would effectually counterbalance whatever tendencies may now exist toward separation.—Lord Durham.


Oscar Wilde, that "elegant leviathan," once spoke of literature as a possible intercessor between rival nations. He hoped the time would come, when men became so satisfactorily civilized, that it would be the most natural thing in the world to say: "We will not go to war with France—because her prose is perfect." George Meredith has remarked that some flowers have roots as deep as oaks, and surely Wilde's bon mot is such a flower! The root of the matter, at any rate, may be found in the dedication of Zaïre. Voltaire memorialized his English visit in 1732, above all his friendship for A. M. Falkener, a London merchant, in that remarkable dedication of his finest drama. No doubt Oscar Wilde had chanced upon these words: "Those who love the arts are fellow citizens. Honourable people have pretty much the same principles, and form the selfsame republic." William Hazlitt also had the root of the matter in him when he declared: "We can scarcely hate any one we know."

Sociologists are fond of speaking of the solidarity of mankind, as if it were almost an established fact, rather than an ideal for long and painful achievement. The real and lasting cement of such concord consists of sympathetic and intelligent understanding, and a sense of mutual responsibility. "Ignorance of his neighbours," observed Robert Louis Stevenson, "is the characteristic of the typical John Bull.... the Englishman sits apart, bursting with pride and ignorance." The situation would be relatively simple if this ignorance were restricted to one nation only.

The means by which amity may be established between peoples are numerous, but surely the chief of them is an adequate knowledge and appreciation of their history and literature. That is especially true in a nation where two races have agreed to live side by side, sharing the common task and destiny. It is for this reason, therefore, that we shall consider the bonne entente in Canada, pointing out how literature and history have served the cause of national solidarity, and how they may achieve a more perfect concord of mutual understanding and of united national enterprise.


When John Henry Newman went up to Oxford, in 1816, he was expected, as a scholar and a gentleman, to specialize in Latin and Greek. No English authors, and no modern foreign writers, were on the curriculum. Fancy not knowing Greek, when it guaranteed social standing, or Latin, when it was the password to preferment! Young bucks rode to hounds with Horace in their pockets. Members of Parliament quoted Homer and Virgil. "The classics had sunk to the level of an accomplishment." Later on English literature was accorded a place among the humanities, being shortly followed by English history.

This reticence likewise prevailed in the United States, and has, until recently, been the fashion in Canada. Fortunately, Canadian history has taken its place on the curricula of our colleges, but Canadian literature, with few exceptions, is still among the unmentionables. You may secure instruction in most of the literatures, living and dead, and in any one of the fifty-seven varieties of practical courses, from household science to embalming, but in the majority of our colleges, you may not register for even a quarter-course in the literature of this country.

Now, no intelligent and discriminating Canadian is under any delusion regarding our literature. Three swallows do not make a summer, neither do three cheers make a classic. Not all of our literature rises above sea level. Much of it lacks cadence, substance, good taste and honest craftsmanship. Not a little of it is utterly banal. But some of it does stand the test, and we ought to know it. May one not speak of Fréchette and Lampman as did William Dean Howells; of Duncan Campbell Scott as did William Archer and John Masefield; of Charles G. D. Roberts and Bliss Carman as did Matthew Arnold and Richard LeGallienne; of E. J. Pratt as did Laurence Binyon and George Gordon; and of Pauline Johnson as did Whittier and Watts-Dunton; to mention only a few? If the Academy of France crowns a score of the great names of Quebec, if the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Royal Society of Literature, elect our writers as Members and Fellows, can we not say that they are deserving, in some respects at least? We may surely commend the best honestly as did such men, and discover the beauty they prized, without either patronizing as do some, or, as some others, use boastful phrases which would have to be modified even for Shakespeare and Keats. A decreasing number are rising in their places and exclaiming, that all our literary works are vanity, and that there is no good in them. But the last enemy that shall be conquered is the rhapsodist, the undiscriminating braggart who deals wholesale in fleece-lined, caressive garments of praise.

A great literature presupposes an advanced organized and well-integrated society—a mature body and a self-conscious soul. Nationalism is a form of emotion, which seeks adequate expression, and its most common and natural outlet is literature. Therefore it becomes one of the proudest and most potent symbols of separate national existence and ambition. Thus considered, a national spirit is the very essence of a literature, whether it be Shakespeare's dramas, Dante's Divine Comedy, Goethe's Faust, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, or even Wordsworth's sonnets. While our political status guarantees to us the courtesies due a sovereign state, no similar gesture can confer complete nationhood, and such we do not possess. We have no distinctive flag, no generally accepted national song, no saga, no classic racy of the soil. Our country sprawls between two remote seas, and meanders northward among the hostile areas of the Arctic Circle. The Fathers of Confederation conceived a nation in defiance of geography. Small communities, separated by immense distances, work out their own destinies as best they can. Undigested groups of foreign peoples cling tenaciously to their speech and customs. Yet, somehow, a soul is taking shape. Is a nation void of all worth because it is not hoary with age, and gouty with conventionality and sophistication? Does not our hope lie rather in the fact that we are not dilettante and senile, that we possess a little primitivism and adolescence? "There is comfort in that," said Kinglake in Eothen, "health, comfort and strength to one who is aching from very weariness of that poor, dear, middle-aged, deserving, accomplished, pedantic and painstaking governess, Europe."

Why, then, cherish our literature?

(1) In our anxiety to know the best of what has been thought and said abroad, it will surely be an advantage to know what has been said and thought at home. It may lack many of the elements of greatness, and the earmarks of supreme felicity, but if it is honest and sincere, and has grown out of our emotional and social experience, it will have value for us. That is true of the literature of any country. In the poetry of Spenser and his associates met the strains of the new learning and the Reformations, the first noticeable result of which was a consolidating and quickening of the national self-consciousness. The seriousness born of the new-found classics, and the ardours of the religious awakening, blossomed in a higher humanism and a more exalted patriotism. Much of that literature was coarse, fantastic and extravagant, but it was always vigorous, honest and essentially sound because its roots plucked the native soil of England. A good deal of nonsense has been current regarding Shakespeare as a man of the ages, timeless and cosmic. He was a man of his own day. A product of the double enlightenment of mind and heart in his own country, and always and everywhere an Englishman. Even his foreigners are Englishmen under the accidents of customs, his continental landscapes are all English, and the mythical navy of Bohemia the wooden walls of Britain.

(2) Our writers, as well as our artists and sculptors, are our best interpreters. They not only reveal what we are to ourselves as a people, but they also explain us to others. Would we know the soul of Quebec? Then let us turn to such spokesmen as Parent, Garneau, Crémazie, Fréchette, De Gaspé, LeMay, Nelligan, Lozeau, Morin and Mgr. Camille Roy. Does Quebec desire to understand the rest of Canada? Then let our French compatriots read Roberts, Carman, Lampman, Campbell, Scott, Kirby and McArthur. The Maritimes speak in Haliburton, Howe, MacMechan, Roberts, L. M. Montgomery and Carman; east and west in Parker, MacDonald, Marjorie Pickthall, Pauline Johnson, Pratt, Ralph Connor, Isabella Valancy Crawford, Grove and many more.

(3) The real masterbuilders are not all in Who's Who, neither are our greatest national assets listed in the Almanac. You will find both in the less than three-foot shelf of our best writers, a few square yards of canvas, a little group of marbles and bronzes, and a few noble buildings.

(4) We have frequently stressed the social, economic and constitutional elements in Canadian history, when the real evolution of our country is phrased in those pages which record the uneven yet earnest quest for truth and beauty. Our appreciation of art and literature abroad depends upon the emotional atmosphere at home. We can only build upon the life we know. It is obviously silly and unreasonable to decry our adolescent awkwardness, as it is to fancy that we possess the ripeness, grace and sophistication of the old world. Some of our critics lean their brows against the Wailing Wall, and cry out at the thought of our literature: "It isn't quite good enough!" Of course it is not, and may it never satisfy us. But is that apologetic mutter the only leadership our mentors have to offer? The confusion among our teachers and reviewers reminds one of the old Christmas riddle of the Holly.

Highty-tighty, Paradighty,
Clothed all in green.
The King could not read it
No more could the Queen.
They sent for a Wise Man out of the East,
Who said it had horns but was not a beast.

One need not rest satisfied and contented, but one ought surely to search out the best and value it for what it is worth. Emily Montague, by Frances Brooke, is a poor enough imitation of Pamela, but it contains some excellent vignettes of social life in Quebec immediately subsequent to the Conquest. The pictures of frontier community life in DeGaspé's Les Anciens Canadiens, Rivard's Chez Nous, Bouchard's Vieilles Choses, Vieilles Gens, Kirby's Canadian Idylls, Mrs. Moodie's Roughing It in the Bush, and others, are excellent of their kind. Consider Cappon, Blake, O'Hagan, Macphail, Grove, Edgar, Dantin, Harvey, d'Arles and Mgr. Camille Roy in belles lettres; some have borne away the Palmes Académiques, others have won a name on the Continent. And so on one might go. The work of our early writers, Sangster, Mair, Richardson and Haliburton, Garneau, Crémazie, De Gaspé and LeMay is uneven, yet it holds an honest mirror up to our national life, and we would be the poorer without these tentative efforts. We demand that our young writers shall do better than their forebears in the craft. They must learn to perspire—in the hand as well as in the head. While their technique may surpass that of their elders, they should aim to equal that sincerity and simplicity, and that vivid love for the national homeland, which distinguish the pages of our first writers. "Avant tout je suis Canadien!" (Sir George Etienne Cartier)

Our teachers of history and literature would do well to group the best we have accomplished in these fields about their themes. The romance of our past has been superbly told. The ancient quests of man for adventure, fame, freedom, independence and the treasures of mind and heart, are all there. Later our youths will set out as self-conscious Canadians, enriched by their native social inheritance, to explore the records of dynasties, and the ages of enlightenment and progress abroad. Moreover, the landscape and seascape of Canada is the atmosphere of home, and, fully understood and appreciated, will provide an excellent stepping stone to the Lake District, Killingworth and the Isle of Innisfree.

(5) We need to study intently these interpreters and spokesmen of Canada as an act of self-preservation. The insistent pressure of old and mighty civilizations tends to reduce so small and scattered a people to spiritual and aesthetic vassalage. Internationalism is a fine sentiment, but our greatest contribution will come through the development and expression of our own unique selves.


The point has been stressed that we already have a national soul or ego. Politically we have desired to be a people, a nation by divine right and in our own right. That ideal we claim with all appropriate tenacity and fierceness. The expressions of our individuality are numerous, and already people abroad recognize them. They have seen: "A spirit of self-direction and self-confidence; of independence and initiative, a marvelous optimism or hopefulness in private and public affairs; a great seriousness tinged with religion in English communities and saturated with it in French areas; an interest in the welfare of society a high degree of self-respect; a pride and confidence in the present, and still more in the future of the nation; an intense activity and a great desire for self-improvement; a truly democratic spirit which regards all men as essentially or potentially equal; and a complete intolerance of caste."

Examine that carefully and you will note certain features not altogether ideal. Some elements, you may have observed, are rather vulgar—initiative for example, and the ability to think and act quickly. Anglo-Saxon forcefulness and efficiency, especially in a new country, where one has to be forceful and tolerably efficient or sink, are not always friendly to ideals. Art and religion suffer in consequence. Carried to an extreme, and we shall be a pitiful folk. The French are shrewd enough to see this, and from them we must learn to be thoughtful of the amenities, and not be ashamed of religion, that is, of our sublimer and deeper emotions.

It will have been observed, too, that wealth in the paradise to which we are said to aspire. Upon the high altar of avarice we sacrifice friendship, home, honour and often plain decency. At the same time there is a noticeable increase in the population of gentlemen and gentlewomen. British self-respect and French taste have further conquests still to make however. The contribution of the French, will, in this particular, be increasingly more obvious. Big business would prey upon the contentment and tractability of the French workman and habitant, but the exponents of dividends-at-any-cost have yet to learn that the ceaseless pre-occupation of those unassuming folk is a wistful, tireless absorption in the altar, the hearth and the age-old traditions of their race. "L'Anglais met dans le travail des mains la délicatesse que le Français met dans celui de l'esprit." Thus truly spake Chateaubriand.

Even education has not escaped the blight of success. There are so many honours paid to utility and efficiency that it is perhaps useless to expect immunity for the schools. The trend everywhere is from production, through promotion to profits, whether it be chain stores, movie syndicates or interlocking oil corporations. It is true that the directors seek to disguise this unpleasant fact through the subtle poetry of their trade legends, and the lyrical promise of Service: "Hats that Delay Baldness"; "Gifts that Last." One would suppose, from the evangelical earnestness of the street-car posters, that beauty, health and urbanity, let alone social and economic success, depended upon a certain brand of cigarette, mouth wash, or hair oil. Ah well, people know when they have had enough, and therein lies our hope. Ultimately the Frenchman's genius for clear thinking, and the Britisher's basic common sense, pull them up.

The backwoodsmen turned to the French quadrille; their stout matrons envied the slender lines of mademoiselle, while their sons and daughters aped the gallantries, wit and deportment of Gay Paree. It was useless for the frontier parson to admonish them, that French culture stood for fickleness, glamorous manners for sensuousness, and animation for unreliability and exaggerated etiquette! Lord Bryce has pointed out, in The American Commonwealth, that the bourgeoisie of the pioneer settlements introduced certain elements of French culture. It is difficult to see how this could have been avoided. "Ce qui en nous est proprement français est inaltérable comme incommunicable." Gustave Lauson spoke with some truth when he held that the spirit of the French was unchanging, immutable, but surely they communicate it lavishly every day!

We are committed to nationhood. The barriers, so-called, of race, religion, language, temperament, ideals and traditions, have proved to be no insuperable obstacles to mutual understanding. The empire-dreaming Anglo-Saxon and the home-making, home-keeping French, have together developed an outward and an inward look. La vitalité française, and the no less energetic virtues of Scot, Celt and Briton, promise noble things. "De toutes langues parlées, il n'y a point eu, en outre, de plus pénétrante au coeur, de plus lumineuse à l'esprit que la langue française." Some English Albert Sorel might as truly and passionately voice the excellence of the language Shakespeare spoke. Of French or English, it is not the whole truth that Mistral gives: "la langue d'un people est la clef qui délivrera de ses chaînes." Our two Canadian tongues will yet weld chains, and they will be gold links binding us one to another!

The tradition of the French missionary and soldier of fortune survived, not only in place names, but also in story books, school texts, and in the characters of the people. The descendants of Cartier, who dreamed of a French and Catholic America; the heirs of the Huguenots, who desired a French and Protestant haven, to-day share honours and duties alike. In the Mayflower there were French and Walloons, as well as Britons, prophetic of a common destiny, and a free exchange of spiritual commodities in Canada and also in the United States. We are not concerned with a type of Canadianizing which would iron out the last wrinkle of national individuality. The British are not all materialists, neither are all the French idealists. The literature and history of Canada will fling up a highway east and west, and ultimately all our people, let us hope, will find it. "Contentement passe richesse" deserves to be a common ideal, and "ces traditions, fleurs exquises de notre tempérament francais," so eloquently defined by Mgr. Camille Roy, ought to become the common property of us all.

So it is that our national selfhood is in the process of becoming. Many far-off springs feed the current of our national life. We would do well to study the conventions and enthusiasms of each other, for out of them will come our finest art and literature. We can learn from the home-seekers who to-day enter our ports, each the representative of a rich social inheritance. We have much to learn from the French, and they from us. One thing we shall come to understand is, that learning and morals must go hand in hand. If the history of the last twenty-five years means anything, it repudiates and condemns the pride of knowledge without good taste, of scientific inquiry without reverence, of theories about liberty without inhibitions of religious faith, and of hungry ambition without public ethical standards and private morals.

It is not to be supposed that our native French literature is an effective prophylactic for every infection. But one thing is certain, if our teachers and preachers, artists and authors, our people generally west of the Ottawa, and south of Gaspé, can sympathetically appreciate the amenities of the hearth, the traditions and customs of the people, the passionate love of the altar, in short, the urbanity, strength and charm of the French people, education, literature, art and business will take on a new dignity throughout our land.

Be not afraid. The elements which are being forged into a national soul are not historically alien. We are not founding an Empire out of a handful of 100 per cent. Romans, and a multitude of barbarians and slaves. If we are not all identical, we are supplementary, and that is a greater thing. This work of confederation will not be accomplished by fine figures of speech or sentimentalizing, but by knowing each other's past, the social, political, aesthetic and religious elements which have composed it, and by a fine sense of mutual sympathy and mutual responsibility. "This ideal comprehends a state of society so unified by a sense of intelligent, sympathetic responsibility, that it shall perform the functions of a nervous system; the interest or the injury of any member of our society shall become the injury or the interest of us all."—Jane Addams.


Looking backward through the years to the days of Champlain, founder of New France, we realize that our national problems have been, and still are, intellectual and spiritual, rather than economic. Men are drawn together by common ideals, spiritual affinities and ruling passions. Therefore, it is not an accident that we have become a nation. It is not an abstract theory of government that keeps us such. It is the development of an inward life, the evolution of a collective spirit, which has at last learned how to express itself in institutions and customs, in a national community life, in foreign relationships, in art and in literature. Armed with this faith we are surely invincible, for, in spite of external circumstances, we possess that inner worth and vitality which no accident can touch or harm. They have told us, in Quebec, that in the event of an Anglo-American war, a Frenchman will be found lining the last ditch. We reply that an English-Canadian will be found at the last barricade, also defending those treasures which French and English have learned to cherish even in a nation so young as ours.

While commerce and industry will continue to bring our provinces more closely together, we must look to education, art, music, literature and a common history to strengthen our inner continuity, and cement our common life. Historical romance, painstaking research, poets, biographers, critics, journalists, and societies of writers, savants and artists, have already accomplished much in perfecting the principle of confederation. It is well to remember that as a nation we were only born yesterday. One should bear in mind that the national literature of Russia began, so late as 1832, with Pushkin's masterpiece Eugene Onyegin. The Irish Renaissance was heralded by Standish O'Grady's History of Ireland: Heroic Period, in 1872. Our own literature dates from Howe's Essays, in 1828, and from Haliburton's An Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia (1829), and his Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick (1836) (both from Howe's Press). Oliver Goldsmith, the first birthright Canadian poet published The Rising Village at St. John, in 1834. Parent's slogan Nos Institutions, Notre Langue, et Nos Lois, appeared in Le Canadien, in 1831, and a self-conscious French literature in Canada shortly came into being. The beginnings are not far off, it is true, but they were significant. Those who come after us will be motivated by higher spiritual ideals, and governed by finer laws of art. But above all they will, if true to their avocations, speak of those things which give to life deep inner support and substance, and crown our common national enterprise with new value and higher dignity.

We are sufficiently conscious of our prodigious wealth and power. We ought also to have a parallel sense of the necessity for larger and more significant goals. Dante held the sublime conviction that the world, being a thought of God, is designed for unity. We might add, that the world is designed for undreamed of progress toward love, beauty and truth. What Sully-Prudhomme said of love and poetry applies with equal force to the making of a nation. "L'amour avec toutes les passions dont il est le ressort, demeure le dernier occupant de l'inspiration poétique, comme il en a été le premier."


It is obvious that we have reached a stage where our national life has sufficiently integrated to warrant our speaking of a national soul, a selfhood, if you will. Canadians have not only become self-conscious, but they have also become articulate, and it is now useless to inquire whether we have a literature or a history. A growing sense of our national importance and destiny has already revealed a fine enthusiasm for a more organic union of our several parts, and possibly the most significant sign of a finer spiritual confederation is the movement toward entente cordiale between the two elder races of the Dominion. Our poetry, drama, fiction, history and eloquence are witnesses to the reality of this cross-fertilization. There is no place for the hyphen in our life or art, for our loyalties go deep into the common soil, are nurtured by it, and their roots mingle in the loam. This is the pledge of our lasting solidarity. More and more in the days to come, whether you cut through our national life this way or that, you will find it all of a piece like a perfect tapestry.

What Shall We Gain?

(1) We shall gain substance. The epic Parsifal was composed by a poet who could neither read nor write, which is not the same thing as saying that he was illiterate. Henry James illustrates our meaning when he declares that "no good novel will ever proceed from a superficial mind." We have reached the stage in our national literature when we need to discover fresh sources of inspiration. We need bigger and better ideas. There is a surfeit of verses on grain fields, hepaticas and the aurora borealis. There is a lack of reality, experience and authentic emotion, in a word, content, in our work. The great masterpieces are concerned with the age-old quests of the mind and heart. They do not make the fatal American error of confusing love with promiscuity, goodness with conventional morals (otherwise etiquette), and truth with whatever happens to be in fashion. There lies the weakness of our native fiction and drama. We can etch the several freckles of a tulip, but we do not go down into the crypt and abyss of a man's soul. Readers desire meat, not alfalfa. "You alarm me!" said the King, "I feel faint. Give me a ham sandwich." "Another sandwich! There's nothing but hay left now," said the messenger, peeping into the bag. "Hay then!" murmured the King in a faint whisper. "There's nothing like eating hay when you're faint. I did not say there was nothing better—I said there was nothing like it."—Through the Looking Glass.

(2) We shall gain coherence. We have gusto, bounce, robustness and sprightliness, but we lack the flavour of the oak vats, the bouquet which can only come from long working in the dark. We are cursed with easy rhetoric. To be dull is to be damned. Therefore we startle rather than persuade, and imagine that sharp contrast is argument. Sprightliness is not artistry. Some editors may say "To hell with the plot!" But they will demand, all the same, sequence, lucidity, discipline and something of a pattern. Whether it be poetry or prose, the instrument must be played as it should be played, and not tortured with ephemeral mutter and chatter. The Golden Dog, Wacousta, Les Anciens Canadiens and Jean Rivard, like Moby Dick and The Brothers Karamazov, lack the artistic unity of Hamlet, but they are great to this extent, namely, that they reveal "that final joyous simplification which is the fruit of leisure and saturation." That is why they are significant, memorable and satisfying. Incoherence is not a local peculiarity. It is found wherever there is no deep tap root of sustained thought and profound experience, willing to submit to discipline. Given paltry ideas, slovenly habits, lack of standards of taste, and you get chaos, either in Canada or Kamchatka. And it is useless to try and disguise the facts with vivacity and ingenuity. The old Quebec school may be challenged by the new Montreal group for it is inevitable that new experiences should seek new forms, but that elder fraternity touched nothing that was trivial or tawdry. Their work may frequently have lacked beginning, middle and end, that is the unities, but they were never wanting in reality, neither did they fail to clothe it with a certain austere beauty, or invest it with spiritual significance related to the multiform pattern of life.

(3) We shall gain subtlety. Sincerity and simplicity we demand as a first necessity, and later, as we are able, we shall acquire subtlety. Subtlety is the difference between a Greek vase and a flower-pot contrived out of putty and oddments from the ash barrel. It is born of leisure and urbanity. While the first duty of an author is to say what he means, and to be certain that what he means makes sense, he will desire, if he is an artist, the outward forms of an inward and invisible grace. One cannot define style. Buffon's oft-quoted dictum was that it is the man. We might add, that it is man when he is an artist. A recent work, Ananias, or the False Artist, defines a false artist as "a man who knows the unique significance of the work on which he has entered, and yet cannot give himself to it whole-heartedly." Later on the author supplements this by saying, that most of the sons of Ananias are "blindly unaware of their villainous inadequacy." There lies our difficulty. We are not only impatient of helpful criticism, and the long way home of honest drudgery, but we are also, and perhaps it is because of that, frequently ephemeral and superficial. We bolt our pre-digested cereal and leap headlong into the garish day. Subtlety is not acquired with a fluency in the Gallic idiom, or the graceful gymnastics of a French dancing master, any more than good taste can be purchased with books on etiquette, or ripeness sponged from an encyclopaedia of questions. The American girls on the banks of the Delaware, away back in 1800, blushed at their own awkwardness when they beheld the swimming air and nonchalance of Mademoiselle de Florian, daughter of the lodging-house keeper. But the culture of Boston and Philadelphia did not depend upon those charming externals, any more than ours does upon the meaty ingredients of Elbert Hubbard's Scrap Book, or the mysteries of Pelmanism. There is a profound difference between manners and good taste, between fluency and a style that charms and bewitches. We also mistake petition for subtlety: "Four out of Five Now Lose"; "Labour Produces All Wealth." Subtlety has nothing to do with tricks of style or rules of etiquette, but everything to do with ripe thinking, refined emotions and noble character, in short, the golden fruits of education. The classical tradition began with schoolmasters, the Greek philosophers and dramatists, who taught "free men the essentials of the good life." And they made those noble sentiments immortal, because of the profound feeling, the luminous fancy and the clairvoyant imagination with which they exalted them.


Matthew Arnold attributed the provinciality of English letters, as compared with France, to the fact that there was in England no Academy. "The less a literature has felt the influence of a supposed centre of correct information, correct judgment, correct taste, the more we shall find in it this note of provinciality." Lacking this in Canada we shall have to depend upon our schoolmasters. In the warfare between science and religion, the dilemmas of radical democracy, the increase of insolent wealth and futile use of leisure, the depressing weight of material things, and the general noise, bluster and vulgarity, the little red school house is still our best defence against shallow sentiment, flabby ideas and bad taste. We are not so much in need of literary creeds as we are of a native culture, broad, rich and tolerant. This can be the only lasting basis of a real bonne entente.

A finer understanding of our history and literature will also help. Here again the teacher leads in the work of properly integrating all elements of our national life, French and English, Nordic and Everyman, relating them to the social and personal experiences of the public and high school grades. A fervent and intelligent national sentiment should be created in the public schools, and it will not be achieved through dissertations on wars, treaties and constitutional problems. Our literature abounds in excellent material for this purpose, from the community and frontier sketches of our early writers to the vivid narratives and descriptions of our best novelists and poets.

Literature is for life, not only to inspire new standards of value and taste, but to convey pleasure as well. We are coming more and more to understand that our courses in literature and history, in both public and high schools, must be radically changed. No longer can the old button-bag, bric-a-brac collection of snippet readings serve our purpose. Psychology has added its blessing to what we had already discovered through actual experience: there are certain permanent interests and ideals alive in the minds of children. Around these dreams and enthusiasms we must build our texts on literature, history and science. Any further course, to commend itself, must proceed thus, and those who build these books will find a bonanza of material ready to hand in our poetical, romantic and historical writings. In this way, the best of all that we have produced may be related, at the proper time and in the right manner, and find its beautiful flowering in a higher national citizenship.

Of course, we must criticize our writers intelligently, and not be silly about it. But surely our art and literature can bear the truth, and be judged sincerely for whatever of truth or beauty it contains. Does it reflect a unique individual and social experience, with fidelity, with persuasiveness, and with some degree of magic? If so, we have, for the present, all that we deserve or can expect. To-morrow we shall perhaps do better.

The brown loam rich with the odour of life, emblem of immortality, cannot imprison the almond beyond its appointed April blossoming. And so, when the time is fulfilled, the great Canadian epic, novel or drama will break into the light. Classics do not appear nearly so often as publishers' blurbs would lead one to expect. Still, there is no reason why we should wear sackcloth, and sift ashes upon our heads when we sit down to speak of Canadian literature and history. Masterpieces are not as common as daisies in the meadows, and that is true of every country. In all history there is but a small handful of real classics, and happy is that culture, ages old, wise and ripe, which has dropped one such lovely fruit! In the meantime we write of life as we understand it, having an ear for cadence, an eye for colour, a hand for contour, adding magic to metaphor, and the result is memorable and useful for our people for a time, even though it be not immortal. It is well that we have a few who can speak for to-day and to-morrow, even though their voices may not carry down the centuries.

You may say that the times are out of joint; that puritanism and industrialism choke artistic expression; that philistinism is too thin a soil in which to raise these heavenly beauties; that our social environment is unfriendly to the sensitive plants we call poets. Therefore we will write pot-boilers, and escape from uplifters in irreverent protest and heart-easing mirth, folfol-rol-de-lee-ro. But have the times ever been more auspicious? What of the days when the Hebrews sang their melancholy sweet songs in a strange land? What of the days, brutal and licentious, when the virgin queen reigned, and a runaway deer-stalker climbed over the footlights up the stairway of the stars? What of the days when the epileptic Dostoevsky, loosed from a Siberian dungeon, hung in the Russian heavens his stupendous creations, Myshkin and Karamazov? This day is as auspicious as any that has ever dawned.

For the rank and file, we have something to do about it. Joseph Howe sponsored Thomas Chandler Haliburton. The success of Haliburton encouraged Richardson, born in the same year. LeMoine, De Gaspé and Sulte fed the fires of William Kirby's genius. Charles G. D. Roberts kindled his student, Robert Norwood, gave strength to the reticence of his cousin Bliss Carman, and, when Orion appeared, young Lampman wept for joy, that one might sing new songs of the Dominion with the grace our elder poets had. Lampman stimulated his fellow civil servant Duncan Campbell Scott. Scott's "The Piper of Aril," appearing in a journal edited by Peter McArthur, fell into the hands of an employee in an East Side New York saloon and John Masefield dreamed his songs of the sea. Parent's burning challenge, "Our Language, Our Literature, Our Laws," roused the young law student Garneau. Garneau's Histoire du Canada became an epic in the hands of Crémazie, impassioned lyrics with Fréchette, and inspired every other writer of the Quebec School from De Gaspé to Ferland, Chapais, LeMay and Camille Roy. Life comes out of life. The author draws a circle around some Sussex, and there plants the seed of his tree of life. As for the rest, we can create an atmosphere so sensitive to beauty, so sympathetic in its understanding, that, when the master artist musician or builder with words at last may appear, his creations may flourish. It is important that we should know how to choose the good, that we should shun and discourage the mediocre, and this may be done while at the same time preserving honest feelings of expectancy and hospitality. And so it happens, that the materials are already to hand for a bonne entente. Proper discrimination, sympathetic understanding and intelligent direction on the part of critics, teachers and readers, can lay the foundation for a mighty structure. But the spirit of tolerance and good will shall be the lily work upon the top of the pillars of the bonne entente.


What is history? It is the attempt of man to fix in his memory those things in the past that really matter. Out of the infinite multitude of events that are every minute happening and being forgotten, history selects a few, writes down an account of them, studies how they came about, and teaches them to after generations.

But how does history select the things that matter? To begin with, no doubt, it is the instinctive human memory that remembers some things and not others, or partly remembers and partly invents. Then the careful historian comes and compares the different stories and verifies the alleged facts; but he still, for the most past, accepts the selection made for him.

And what a dreadful selection it mostly is! If you read most national histories you get a feeling of horror at the incessant crimes, miseries, and all-pervading selfishness; you wonder if the human race is really as base as all that. The fact is that the conventional history selects its material on just the same principles as the sensational newspaper. A crime is news; a fight is news, an accident, a scandal, a "horror" or "tragedy" of any kind is news; good effective human life is not news at all. Again, conventional history, like the sensational newspaper, is interested in the people who happen to be before the public at the time—an emperor, a film star, a murderer; it is not interested in either things or people because they are really interesting or really important. Most of the important creative work going on in the world, most of the really interesting thoughts and lives, are entirely ignored by newspapers and by history.

Hitherto, speaking roughly, the thing to which history has given most attention is war. War used to be, in the eyes of history, the supreme test of a nation's worth; the defeated nation, the unsuccessful general, were written down as inferior things. The conqueror was a hero and had a statue. War was the way to freedom. It was the great method for removing injustices. It was the climax of human effort. And now the whole civilized world has realised that war is both an evil and an avoidable evil, and all the great nations have solemnly renounced it.

Clearly, history must change her scheme of values. She must try to discover what things are really important; what are really interesting; what things, if war is gone, are able to stir the heart as war did, and inspire men with the same devotion and self-sacrifice. One cannot yet see the answer to that question, but one can see the region in which it will be found: in the help of man by man, of nation by nation, in the binding together of human minds and wills to make possible greater heights of human achievement.—Gilbert Murray. The New Era, London, England, April, 1930.


We have seen that the study of Canadian history and Canadian literature is a binding necessity if we would seriously desire to become a nation. It is important that we should count one, when the roll call of the nations is taken, but it is even more desirable that we should cultivate our national soul, and work out our own special contribution to the intellectual and spiritual life of the world. History and literature are the cement which bind us as a people one to another. Significant works of history and literature are, moreover, our spokesmen, revealing us to ourselves, and declaring what we are to others.

In this lecture we shall consider how history should be taught and read, stressing the story of our own nation. History is a story, in which dramatic and romantic elements are stressed, built upon the interests and told in the language, of pupils in the various grades. It will be discovered that much of the old formal material must be rejected, periods, movements and personalities that have no interest for boys and girls. And further, the material chosen must be built round the chief interests, or quests, of the child in topical form. These topics will consist of biographies and romances bearing on a single theme in such a manner as to reveal the streams of history, that is, the stories will be more or less continuous narratives of human progress along various lines, and within the experience of the student and focused upon his interests and problems. Certain themes, or streams of history, will be reserved for later years, building upon the expanding experiences of the pupil. This guarantees that there shall be no snippets requiring memorization, but rather lesson-units of sufficient length to interest the student and leave a memorable picture. As the pupil sees the main streams of history he arrives at an idea of his own place in the epic of man's progress. He will wish to share intelligently in it, and enrich the narrative as best he can. This allows for pleasure reading in related fields; the making of history books of his own, built round those themes in which he is specially interested, choosing facts, stories and illustrational material he considers valuable; dramatizing interesting episodes; making charts and maps and other devices to explain the events more adequately; and, through such projects as class debates, discussion groups, programs, school museums, and local history crusades, making the story and its meaning more real for him. In all of which the pupil discovers that there is life in history, and that it may be his own life written large.


There are many difficulties of education; for our present purpose it will be sufficient to say, that it aims "to assist the student in arriving at reasonable conclusions regarding the meaning of life, and in relating the manifold elements of experience in a purposeful program of his own." In other words, education, by strengthening the character, training the mind, disciplining the emotions, broadening the sympathies and kindling new ideals, enables the student to find his right work in the world and to be useful and happy in it. This is the aim of life, and life is an art which one never wholly masters. Through observation and experience one gains skill, and through the reading of history and literature one may check up one's personal conclusions and practices with those of the race.

It will be recognized at once that government, law, commerce, society, freedom, democracy, truth, beauty and so on are concepts built up out of materials, simple and concrete, which have come within the range of the experience of the student, and therefore have reality and significance for him. Take the idea of democracy, for example. We meet the very young child upon his own ground, in the simple social experiences of the home, school and playground, the common delights of the everyday world around him. Ultimately we trace the social structure outward through the community, the township, to the nation and the world. Thus it is that out of three sounds we make not a fourth sound but a star, a principle, a law of life, something to direct, kindle, quicken and motivate. The young boy will discover in the society of Athens, in the Golden Age of Greece, only what he knows of beauty and truth in his own home environment, or in Charlemagne only what he recognizes as civic nobility in the town fathers of his native community.

Therefore, we are at school, and as "friends educating each other."

We have seen that the end of education is life, and that education is life. Shall we ever reach a time when the quest for the meaning of life has been ended? It is no easy task, as you may have discovered for yourselves, because life is not only increasingly more complex, but the enemies of rational living more insidious,—vulgarity, standardized thinking, emotional chaos, blatant irreverence. Life indeed is in flux, as Heraclitus said, but, beneath the surface, one discovers that the stream is warm and vital, and that the channel along which it flows was not cut by caprice. And above the ebb and flow of life there shines the polar star, a little fitfully at times, but steadily nevertheless. We can not define poetry or beauty, let alone truth, life and God, but it does shine above us (and within us) and holds us imperiously to the high road of destiny.

Our knowledge is experimental, whether it be the making of a ploughshare, or the appreciation of the good and the beautiful. There are born within us certain incentives, and experience likewise suggests others. As we have just seen, the minds and hearts of men are engaged in great unchanging and unending quests. "Learning is ever in the freshness of its youth, even for the old." Aeschylus was right. The necessities of an industrialized and specialized existence tend to reduce us to "fractional personalities," to specialists and Gradgrinds. But there is an increasing number of young men and women who rebel at the over-fed, super-dressed, ill-mannered prototypes of modern success, who refuse to stand cowed, bewildered and cynical, when the historic quests of mankind have proved the value and dignity of their own souls. There is a growing multitude of young people who choose not to become professionalized, and so lose the fruits of balanced development. College training has about reached the limits of vocational training, training for industry, for unlimited specialization, the breeding of "particularists." Education will ultimately swing about, aiming at a high average, and offer opportunities by which one may "become aware of significant experience". We desire "new meanings for life, new reasons for living."

Matthew Arnold was right when he diagnosed—

....this strange disease of modern life,
With its sick hurry, its divided aims,
Its heads o'er taxed, its palsied hearts.

What shelter to grow ripe is ours?
What leisure to grow wise?....

Too fast we live, too much are tried,
Too harass'd, to attain
Wordsworth's sweet calm, or Goethe's wide
And luminous view to gain.

That is true, but one is not compelled to live in the garish day, and frolic about in a three-ring circus. Montaigne suggested that everyone might possess an arriére boutique, some little back shop where one might set up one's liberty. Now I do not desire to over-stress the obvious, but I wish to point out that in the hectic times into which we are born, we must discover those fixed stars in the heavens. All that I shall have to say depends upon getting this clear. I want you to see, that at the centre of art, religion, philosophy, government and the rest, there stands a man, someone who passionately desired beauty, loved only loving kindness, cared for nothing but truth, sought nothing save freedom and justice—a man who, day and night, rain or shine, through thick and thin, kept his immortal soul on top! And seeing this, I want you to see further, that all history is the life story of that man written large,—"those individuals who were free (because they knew) their powers and capacities, as well as their limitations; who sought a way of life which utilized their total personalities; who aimed to alter their conduct in relation to a changing environment in which they were conscious of being active agents."[1] Education, therefore, looks out upon life as a series of great quests. If history is rewritten along these lines it will be infinitely more purposive and creative.


And so we come to the main point. We desire to know how we may read history and literature, delve into the accumulated experiences of our forebears, and return from these vicarious experiences, kindled, balanced and newly directed. "The civilization of power aims at the exploitation of the world.... that of culture aims at the development of man." (L. P. Jacks). I desire to possess ideas of worth, of value, to be able to say Yes and No in a way that is quite my own. Animal training, propaganda and organized fear will always, perhaps, be popular in some schools and sects, but so long as the majority know how to stand erect we are safe. "A man is known by the dilemmas he keeps," says Walter Lippman. He will never escape doubt, but he must stand forth a free spirit.

The chief thing is to remember, that "citizenship is the power to contribute one's instructed judgment to the public good.... A nation of men, which has not known this intellectual heritage, cannot enter into possession of its kingdom." (Harold J. Laski.)

Before we proceed to a few illustrations I wish to say a word or two about these quests. I want first to remind you of Goethe's dictum: "In general we learn from what we love." You will remember that Goethe went further and said: "You don't learn anything when you read, but you become something." Suppose you are interested in art, in the cultivation of taste and artistic standards. The acquirement of this skill can never be a formal process subject to pedantic rules of art criticism, or the "elements" of literary criticism. The success of your quest is based upon enjoyment. Your enjoyment, and the enjoyment of Keats, for instance, on first looking into Chapman's Homer, are common experiences, perhaps, only in certain superficial agreements. But do not fear that, fear rather to look through the magic casements, and not report exactly what you yourself saw and felt. Fear derivative ideas, snobbish and useless standards, second-hand emotions. We become artistic when we acquire a sense of order, rhythm and beauty in our lives. This can never be an external accomplishment, but must always be associated with a participating enthusiasm and the activity of fellowship. That is what John Dewey understands by "enjoyed meanings", something immediate, intimate, enthusiastic, something into which we enter blithely and zestfully.

Emanuel Kant had a small library of but three hundred books, and half of these were on travel. It is said that he never got farther than his two-by-four back garden. He remarked to a visitor, that, while the garden was not long or wide, it was very high. I find that I am taking you back again to the idea of quests and stars.


Since we have spent considerable time in discussing this idea of history and literature as the record of man's quests, let us illustrate our meaning.

I suppose you have been accustomed to read history chronologically, coming grandly down from the dawn of history along a bewildering trail that branches off every little while. In the end you have a feeling something akin to William James' description of the baby's world, "a big, blooming, buzzing universe." You took everything as it came, the Golden Age of Greece, the Hundred Year's War, The American Revolution, The British North America Act, and so on. No doubt you found it difficult, when you had ploughed through endless snippets on Sennacherib and the Assyrians, the Gracchi and the Gauls, to thread your way back, and say in so many words what it was all about. I defied a Premier not long ago to take a certain world history, and, even with his social and political experience, get interested in congeries of dates, notes and nothings, and make 75% as he expected his pupils to do. Our courses in history and literature frequently resemble nothing so much as button bags, little unrelated things, useful in their way, but lacking coherence or any integrating principle. "Ever since the world began," says John Drinkwater, "the greatest purpose of man's life on it has been to grow from a confusion that cannot be understood into clear shapes that can be understood."

Now the old method of writing history lacked method, unity, coherence. The threads of the narrative are constantly being broken by incursions into other fields. Instead of seeing the steady progress of the idea of beauty through all ages, or the romance of man's quest for freedom, you become lost in a congeries of dates, dynasties, treaties, meaningless wars and so on. Your perspective is distorted, your judgment confused. Instead of seeing Magna Charta, Lord Durham's Report, or the Declaration of Independence as parts of a movement, you see them separately as revolts, agitations, ungratefulness, ignorance, or what you will.

What alternative have we to offer? Simply this, that we will proceed to the study of history as a series of sublime quests. The teaching of history should deal with great movements, and ideas evolving through long periods of time in broad outline. Primary and secondary education should aim "to convey a sense of human progress, to show that the manners, the ideas, and the institutions of each epoch are evolved from what has gone before," rather than to concentrate on the intensive study of a limited field. Instead of chaotic by-paths we shall have a highway, well defined and obvious, along which man comes struggling toward the Moated Grange. We will divide our world history into these great quests, and then follow these chains of sequence, noting step by step the logical development, getting a sense of perspective, of context, of evolution. The background of the canvas soon emerges, and over against it the big things look big, and the small things appear insignificant. Cause and effect, too, need no underlining; conclusions become inevitable.

You remember the old Saxon Chronicle. Sometimes a scribe took a hand at it, and added a touch of poetry that made the annals live, but how often you run into something like this:

Year 189 In this year Severus succeeded to the Empire, and reigned seventeen winters. He begirt Britain with a dike from sea to sea.

Year 190

Year 199

Year 200 In this year was found the Holy Rood.

If that is all there was to this chronological record we should not have missed it greatly. It was the poetry in it, and the vivid prose narrative now and then, which redeemed the old Saxon Chronicle, and kept English poetry and prose, in other words, the English soul, alive through hundreds of years, through war, conquest and disappointment.

I World History

Suppose we draw up a tentative outline of world history to demonstrate our meaning, taking as our main themes the great historic quests of mankind, the quest for happiness and adventure; the quest for power as seen in the story of science in its conquest over the material world and in government in the rule of the people; the quest for freedom; the joy of work and play; the quest for truth in the story of education; the quest for beauty in the story of literature and the arts; the quest for the fulness of life in the story of the world's religious prophets. We develop these themes progressively and cumulatively, relating them to current events, and associating them with their present and future applications. In Bolingbroke's words, one is able to catch the meaning of history by understanding its "philosophy of action."

You will have noticed that this theme method is poles removed from the old dynastic and constitutional history to which we have always been accustomed. It is also different from that political and social history so much in vogue just now. History is not that alone; it is government and society, plus the strivings of man's indomitable spirit for beauty and happiness and the endless privileges of the spirit. Scientist and priest, the explorer and artist, ruler and teacher, the man with a hoe and the woman with her hearth-song, all take their proper place in the progressive evolution of "the main thing." At times the story will be the romance of a great movement, at other times the stream of the narrative will broaden into strangely agitated or quickened lakes, the biographies of great men and women who have changed the political and intellectual boundaries of the world, lives through which the currents of the time flow and are coloured and changed. The end of it all is, that the student shall understand clearly as never before the great highroads along which humanity has moved, that he shall participate in the world movements, and return enriched as a citizen. It is more important that we should see the broad sweep of the currents of time, than that we should memorize endless snippets about this and that. Some things will have to be foregone.

One world history has at least 700 separate headings, about one fifth of which are of any possible interest or value to a pupil of that grade. The remaining snatches are too bald, lifeless and unrelated, to be of any use to anyone. Is it not more important, that the interests of the blossoming citizen should be isolated and studied as a sequence, than that he should return from "taking history", confused, impotent and cold? If less space is devoted to the expeditions of Caesar, the Wars of the Roses, or the War of 1812, it is because more space is given to those things which come within the social, intellectual and spiritual range of the students themselves. In the end we desire a sense of increasing awareness, wider horizons, fresh contacts with life, new enthusiasms, finer hospitality and quickened sympathy,—in a word, fulness of life.

II The History of Britain

Over against such a background of world history we may now place the history of Great Britain and of Canada. It will not be necessary to duplicate strictly the theme method of world history, but by a union of the theme or topical method and the chronological method usually employed, we arrive at a sensible scheme which amplifies and illustrates the world story.

From this you will see that the dynastic method must disappear, and that key topics should be stressed. These first things are given first place, and in their natural chronological order. We come at them in various ways, by stories of incident, dramatic portraits of outstanding men and women, suitable extracts from the legends, chronicles, literature and oratory of the time, and by utilising reproductions of contemporary art which throw light on social, industrial and intellectual conditions. In this manner the legacy of each period comes out into bold relief. Certain definite conclusions of a political, social or spiritual nature are achieved, and upon these the next period builds. The same age-old quests of men are operative, and illustrate similar enterprises in every other land where men live and aspire.

A recent interview with Mr. H. G. Wells reports him as giving expression to a similar ideal.[2]

"History is essentially a study for the adult mind. Concerned as it is with human experience it can only be understood as it becomes related to human experience, experience which the child does not as yet possess. It deals with ideas which are beyond the comprehension of children, or at any rate can only be dimly comprehended by them. Its simplest terms are only partially understandable to them.

"For, why do we teach history to our children? To take them out of themselves, to place them in a conscious relationship to the world in which they live, to make them realise themselves as actors and authors in a great drama which began before they were born and which opens out to issues far transcending any personal ends in their interest and importance.... Unfortunately the teaching of history in schools has followed the movement of the student of history and not the needs of the common citizen toward ampler views, because there has never yet been a proper recognition of the difference in aim between study for knowledge, the historical study of the elect, on the one hand, and teaching, the general education of the citizen for the good, not only of the citizen but of the community, on the other."

III The Story of Canada

This method will also redeem the teaching of Canadian history in our schools. It is nothing short of a tragedy, that such a large percentage of our boys and girls heartily dislike the story of their own country as it is now largely written. Of course nothing can ever take the place of the well equipped teacher, who brings to his task not only knowledge, but swift and luminous insight and a sense of dramatic and spiritual values as well. Fortunately the task is being made easier.

The story of Canada is interesting, and it can, at the same time, be comprehensive. It is obvious, that many of the vital issues in our history, the evolution of constitutional government, the cause and conduct of wars or rebellions with their treaties, the struggle for democratic principles in church and state, these and other questions are beyond the range of 'teen age boys and girls. Therefore one might as well recognise the fact, that historical unity is a fiction. It ought to be equally obvious that there is no such thing as a true chronological history. A strictly chronological biography even, say of the Mayor of this town, would fill the Encyclopaedia Britannica. There are, however, spiritual unities, which are not fiction.

It is impossible that an alert and intelligent national self consciousness can be built upon the old elaborated note-book style of history text. What we desire is that the story of our Dominion should be told, and that it should be related in simple, vivid and dramatic style, emphasing at all times the romance of incident and character. Many can write who know little history, a good many know their history but are innocent of an attractive and persuasive style, but the two desiderata can be found in one person if we look hard enough.

Then let the story of Canada be divided into its natural divisions, those key themes which represent the main currents of our national life. About these topics the lessons will be built, not snatches of notes, but a lesson theme, long enough to tell something, and interesting enough to whet the appetite for more. There will be several lesson themes about one main topic, coming at the key idea in many ways so that it may be obvious even to the most backward. These lessons will radiate from the centre like the spokes from the hub of a wheel. The result will be a closely knit, living and colourful picture.

It is taken for granted that the results of psychological research must be applied with increasing fidelity to the teaching of history. No educational subject can be of the slightest use which does not build upon the mental, emotional and social experiences of the pupil. Therefore, what is the use of cluttering up the story with princelings, little busybodies, inept office holders, wars, bills, acts and the cross word puzzle of constitutional development? Why fill two pages with the Aroostook War, the Ashburton Treaty, Oregon and the San Juan Dispute, when the only thing that kindles a boy is the story of the Oregon trail and Captain Cook's voyage? The boy wants adventure, and he should have it for we have plenty of the best sort. Out of it will be born a contagious love for his country at a time when permanent enthusiasms are being aroused. By challenging an interest in the noble men and women of our country's history, in the thrilling quests which have marked every page of our story, we shall make better men and women, and for that matter better historians to boot. Such a topical program calls for fewer class readings than the curriculum requires. This is designed so that the pupil may avail himself of those interesting supplementary readers which are now so lavishly provided for him. Certain characters and events will intrigue him about which he will desire to know more. Our writers, artists and other heroes of peace are introduced in the text, and many will want to know more about them, also. We shall see a remarkable development in supplementary source material designed for the various grades. It is of more than passing interest to know, that Mr. C. W. Jefferys, R.C.A., who has spent many years recording the story of Canada in a long series of historical drawings, will shortly make them available with his own interesting comments for our home and school libraries.


We have stressed the fact, that through history, properly taught, the pupil arrives at an understanding of the great enterprises and master-motives which have distinguished the evolution of human society, and that, by this means, he discovers his own value to, and work in, the world. Let me close what I have to say in this connection by two short quotations.

"The object of public education is to train the mind and character of the growing citizen so that he or she may be enabled to think and act with independence and responsibility. One of the disciplines employed to this end is the study of history. To pervert history to a lesser purpose is to debase both the teacher and the subject. No doubt it will be urged that this ideal is too austere—that countless teachers to-day are in fact, willingly or unwillingly, engaged in propaganda, and that the friends of peace are therefore compelled to set a counter-propaganda in motion.

"That some propaganda exists in the schools of most countries, and a great deal of propaganda in the schools of some, may be readily admitted. But the best remedy against propaganda is not more propaganda. It is disinterested thinking. Propagandist schools are not good schools. They do not turn out intelligent students—still less, competent historians. Left to themselves, they will sooner or later retrace their steps. Every true educator knows that the healthy mind reacts against excess, and that propaganda therefore breeds its own antidote.

"But if one remedy lies in independent action by historians, independence on the part of teachers of history is another line of advance. No two teachers teach alike or have exactly the same interests. Every teacher who is a real teacher ought therefore to have a voice in the choice of the textbook to be used in his class. Here one comes up against many obstacles, customary, bureaucratic and administrative, and it is difficult to lay down a counsel of perfection. But, whatever the tyranny of ministers, inspectors, headmasters, examination syllabuses and even parents, the principle that the history teacher should remain master in his own class remains valid....

"The way to international understanding is through better education. Better education means better teachers, and better conditions for the exercise of the teachers' art. Once secure these and the rest will follow...."[3]

The next quotation is from "History as a Training for Citizenship," by G. P. Gooch, M.A., D.Litt., a lecture delivered on January 6, 1930, before the Conference of Educational Associations, University College, London.

"It is an axiom that democracy makes a larger demand on the individual citizen than any other form of Government. In terms of social ethics it means government by discussion, the sharing of responsibility, the methods of compromise and accommodation. We are members of a society dedicated to the bracing principle of self-determination, in which each one of us is at once a subject and a sovereign; and it is the dream of our hearts to share in training the citizens of the future for their duties and destiny....

"In putting forward such a resonant claim for history as a factor in the making of citizens, I must be allowed to define it in my own way; for our estimate of its value must obviously depend on our conception of its nature. History as I learned it at school, over forty years ago, was barren of intellectual stimulus and civic inspiration; for it was presented as a string of more or less unrelated occurrences. Today, thanks to the devoted labours of a generation of writers and teachers, we realise that it is the record and interpretation of the life of humanity; that it is concerned with man's ideas and deals no less than with his physical needs, with the pilgrimage of the spirit no less than the strength of his hand. Historicus sum: nihil humani alienum puto. And today we proceed from the whole to the part, not from the part to the whole. Now that we know the story of mankind in all its length and breadth, it is easier to visualise and understand; for the vast structure is held together by the simple conception of growth from savagery to civilisation, and every chapter falls into its place as a stage and a stepping-stone in the Great Adventure. Today is not only the child of yesterday, but the heir of all the ages.

"Assuming, therefore, that history is broadly conceived and intelligently taught, let us discuss its function in the training of our citizens. Its first task assuredly is to enable us to understand the world into which we are born and the stage on which we are called to play our part. Our birthplace gives a direction and a definition to our thought from which few of us ever escape. But this inevitable limitation has its advantages; for it simplifies the task of the teacher and enables the budding citizen to adapt his lungs to the atmosphere he is fated to breathe. Moreover, with the aid of knowledge and imagination we can eliminate the crudest forms of local bias, and do justice to other varieties of human experience. The first and greatest lesson that the citizen has to learn is that the human family is greater than any of its constituent parts; that civilisation is a co-operative achievement, a common heritage and a joint responsibility; that every national unit is connected with the larger life of mankind by a thousand channels and contacts, visible and invisible. Only if the growing mind is flooded with the conception of the unity of civilization, the essential oneness of the human race, which came in with Christianity and the jurists of Imperial Rome, can it see the world of the twentieth century in proper perspective, and understand the practical tasks which it presents.

"To me, at any rate, the League of Nations is the logical and natural consummation of the whole process of human development. For the instinct of association is as old and as enduring as the instinct of strife. Patriotism is not enough,[4] either in scholarship or in citizenship. A factor of incalculable significance has come into our lives, and it is our plain duty to show not only what it is and what it does, but why and how it came into existence. Civilisation is organisation, and the League is the latest and most hopeful of human experiments. The Middle Ages invented the noble conception of the Respublica Christiana—the interdependence of different communities paying homage to the same fundamental principles of conduct and belief. We cannot restore that ideal, and we would not if we could. The world has enlarged its boundaries since the sixteenth century, and a common religious faith can no longer serve as a cement. But we must revive the kernel of the mediaeval conception, and found it on the basis of our common humanity.

"If this doctrine seems to some of us to overlook the fact that moral ideas, like every other expression of the human spirit, are subject to evolution, we may at any rate find in the study and teaching of history a source of priceless moral stimulus and discipline. She is the healer of past quarrels, the enemy of rancorous hate. Without history there can be no perspective, and without perspective there can be no insight. At her best she is a judge, wiser than any one man, without passion or fear, swayed neither by religion nor race, party nor class, a corrector of injustice, an avenger of innocence. She encourages her votaries to ask for evidence, to allow for bias, to seek and to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. By bidding us apply not less exacting standards to the conduct of our own country than to that of other men, she disciplines and purifies our patriotism. The study of other epochs, races, nations, religions, institutions and customs leads us to wide-hearted appreciation of the higher values; to respectful toleration of differences; and to a conception of civilisation as orchestral, the fruit of effort working along many lines. In the study of history, in a word, we find precisely the synthesis of intellectual enlightenment and moral stimulus which citizenship requires and demands.[5]

[1] Adult Education. By E. C. Lindeman, New York, 1926. p. 78.

[2] The New Era, April, 1930.

[3] "The League of Nations and the Teaching of History," by Alfred Zimmern. The New Era, op. cit, p. 72.

[4] Spoken by Nurse Edith Cavell before her execution.

[5] The New Era, London, England, April, 1930. pp. 67-70.


As we contemplate these stupendous movements across the pages of history we are witnessing once more the power of ideas. The hearts and the minds of men were gripped and moved by the eloquent appeals of these orators and philosophers, and human happenings were shaped precisely as these philosophers and orators had predicted and urged. The power of oratory and of statesmanship is an intangible.

Given a nation, conscious of itself, proud of its past, rich in power of every kind, abundant in contribution to letters, to the fine arts, to music, to philosophy and to education, eager in the advancement of scientific inquiry, quick in harnessing new scientific truth, new scientific discovery, to the practical needs of men, what shall be its mode of life, what its measures for the greatest satisfaction and happiness of its people, what its relations with its neighbors and with all the world? We have learned to speak of races as the Teutonic, the Latin, the Slavic, the Mongolian and others. We see mankind separated into groups, some of them of immense size, by differences of language and these groups again divided, regardless of their size or place, by differences of religious faith and worship. Where is to be found the guide to unity and peace through this labyrinth of diversity and conflict? Shall these diversities and conflicts be permitted to go their way unguided, unhampered, to a cataclysm that would mark civilization's end, and leave the planet Earth to the still cold death of a body that has played its part in the heavenly system and could no longer do more than revolve about its central point as a mere makeweight among the stars? Or, on the other hand, shall there be found a path to unity, to companionship, to confidence, to constant consultation, to association in high endeavor, to the end that the supreme human unity which underlies and conditions all human diversities may find its just and beneficent expression?—Nicholas Murray Butler, from "Imponderables."



The study of history is coming to have an increasingly more important part in the curricula of our schools, and in the self-training of adults. Some of the more obvious advantages are these: (I) It provides an adequate background to our thinking. Over against this we place our new ideas and experiences, whereupon the small things look trivial, and the big things appear significant. We need this every day. The air is thick with voices of insistent isms and the din of movements born with every sunrise. He who has explored among the experiences of the race as recorded in history greets these last cries and fresh panaceas with intelligent interest. He does not fear them, because he knows their antecedents. He does not discount them for he understands their context. He can not be stampeded by propaganda since he sees them in their right perspective over against the historical background. (II) Not only do we gain perspective, but we also acquire historical-mindedness, that is, we are able to stand in the shoes of the best men of the best ages. We contemplate their world vividly and entirely. We recognize it as a part of a continuous process. We observe laws at work, tendencies evolving, conclusions being reached, eras growing ripe with legacies. And when the time is fulfilled we detect nations, rousing as strong men from their sleep, ready to press forward to the inaccessible homeland of their dreams. (III) Looking backward we look forward. Having ascertained certain dominant tendencies in society we get an inkling of the purpose latent in history. Thus it is the we become seers, and are able to discover the significant goals of men. These goals are their quests, the eternal moated granges toward which the minds and hearts of the best among men aspire. (IV) What is true of history in general is equally true of Canadian history in particular. We are a part of all that we have met, and can only be known as we are considered a part of the general evolution of the race. At the same time, we must know ourselves, understand our resources, develop an intelligent pride in our spiritual tributaries, and build up a fine, sympathetic cohesion among all our component parts. No nation ever yet made a contribution of any worth that did not feel itself a united, self-conscious, and independent people. In a people so young we expect confidence and self-assertiveness, but we hope that a finer enthusiasm for our arts and letters will promote urbanity and the fruits of the spirit. After all, ripeness is everything.


What is Canadian literature? Charles G. D. Roberts has defined it thus: "A body of work in prose and verse, produced by writers who are either (a) Canadians by birth and breeding (and therefore inescapably a product of the soil) or; (b) Canadians whose adoption is so complete that their subconscious impulses tend to make them think and feel as Canadians." I have tried to show that a national literature presupposes a well organized and well integrated society. The literature, therefore, of a people is the natural voice of the people's spirit. Since history is the record of a nation's quest, the literature of the country will have an important part in portraying and interpreting the most important features of that progressive record. Literature is for delight, for entertainment, but not chiefly. Literature opens up a way of escape, but it is not entirely an exit. Literature kindles the mind and awakens the heart, but it is not exclusively this. It is all of these, because it is life—the life of a people, and its roots go down deep into the loam of national life. It conducts us to ever widening horizons of experience. It enlarges our contacts with power, and puts us in possession of wealth which no catastrophe can spoil or any other advantage embarrass. It is the final touchstone which estimates the real worth and significance of a people, that central spirit which constitutes the only imperishable commodity of exchange in the give and take of nations.

It has long been an open secret that literature gives significance to the story of a nation's life. The contributions of our writers, introduced in the proper place in the record, make the chronicle alive, expectant, vital. Marjorie Pickthall's "Père Lalement" belongs to the narrative of the Jesuit missionaries as truly as the Relations. Verses from the poems of Carman and Roberts will quicken any tale of high deeds performed in the Grand Pré country or storied Chignecto. And so on one might go.

"Literature makes us feel about more things, and it also makes us feel more about them." "It reveals the significance of one object after another; and with every new significance thus revealed to us we are larger men—men of more penetration, more sympathy, and more reverence.... we find that we cannot look upon any object without, consciously or unconsciously, piercing our vision right through it to thoughts, implications, references, relations, that, a year ago, or two before, we should never have glimpsed behind such a dull object. Dull—that's the point! It would have been dull before literature gave us this eager awareness; it is thrilling now. It would have been a solid, opaque thing in those old days; it is rarefied and diaphanous now. We, too, have become poets and interpreters." (Ernest Raymond.)

Well, literature is full of these things, full of the voice of those who have beheld the landscapes and seascapes of their native countries, looked on the pageant of life, and uttered their pain, their ecstasy, their memorable thoughts about the tragedy and comedy about them.

The teaching of Canadian history would be greatly enriched had we an adequate source book available. The time has come for such a work. Teachers of Canadian history might well engage themselves in this task, and call to their aid the students in their university classes. Already we have available selected documents in economic history which throw fascinating light upon social and industrial conditions. Four Centuries of Medical History in Canada, (2 Vols.), by Dr. John J. Haggerty contains chapters on the effect of contagious diseases in the early life of the colony. Histories of Canadian literature and Canadian art place the aesthetic development of the Dominion within reach of the writers of our future histories. All of these contain human documents of the highest importance, which will illuminate and illustrate many a dull page.

We shall speak of the place of art in history later on; for the present I wish to show the wealth of material available for those who will rewrite our history along more competent and human lines. About all we can attempt here is a check list with brief comments on the titles. A full discussion of the contents of these books would make a book in itself. The books which we shall mention ought to be in our school libraries, and parts of them should be read in connection with the themes taught. We shall roughly classify them under fiction, poetry, drama, humour, oratory and stories of settlement and adventure.

i Fiction

A. French:

There was no native press in French Canada prior to the conquest. Colonial self-consciousness had not arisen, and such books as were written in New France and printed in Paris were journals of the discoverers and explorers, as well as narratives of the missionaries. After the conquest, however, matters changed. The isolated French community was proud of its traditions, and tenacious of its inheritance, and after half a century began to make these vocal.

We can date the beginning. On May 7, 1831, Etienne Parent printed in bold type across the front page of his journal, Le Canadien: Nos Institutions, Notre Langue et Nos Lois! That legend became the rallying cry of succeeding generations of French writers in Canada.

Lord Durham had said in his Report (1839) that the French in Canada were a people without a history. That seemed to be true, if one overlooked the books by missionaries, adventurers and generals published in Old France. William Smith's History (1826) belittled the record of the French in America, while Michel Bibaud, (1782-1857), the first native born French Canadian historian and poet, and the first French writer to have his works published in Canada, was frankly cynical of his compatriots. Smarting under this neglect and ridicule François Xavier Garneau (1809-1866) accepted the challenge of his fellow law students and undertook a history of his people. Garneau's Histoire du Canada, in three volumes (1845, 1846, 1848) was the answer. Philippe Aubert De Gaspé (1786-1871) expressed the gratitude of his people when Les Anciens Canadiens appeared in 1863: "Long have you been ignored, my Canadian brothers of old! Shamefully have you been slandered! Honour to those who have redeemed your memory. Honour, a hundred times honour, to our compatriot M. Garneau, who has rent the veil that hid your exploits!" (Cap. xii) Garneau's reward was also in the epic poems of Crémazie, the lyrics of Fréchette, the pastorals of LeMay, indeed in the very fibre of all subsequent French Canadian literature.

Les Anciens Canadiens[1] (1863): Philippe Aubert De Gaspé (1786-1871). This so-called romance is almost void of plot or characterization. De Gaspé states his purpose in these words: "To preserve a few episodes of the good old days, a few memories of a youth, alas! now long past—that is my sole ambition." Faithfully recording the tales which he had heard at his mother's knee, and the stories told him by his grandfather who had led his troops at Ticonderoga, De Gaspé has preserved in this "chanson de geste in prose" the customs, traditions, chansons, the life that gathered around the hearth and altar in the French seignories along the St. Lawrence. There you will observe how they dressed, hear what they said, and enter into the spirit of their gaiety, piety and hospitality.

Jean Rivard: Le Défricheur (vol. I. 1874): Jean Rivard: Economiste (vol. II, 1876): Antoine Gérin-Lajoie (1824-1882). This author is also concerned with French Canadian life and manners. Urging his compatriots to love the soil won from the forests by their forefathers, to refrain from emigrating, he sets out to show the advantages of the agricultural avocation, and the possibilities open to the industrious and successful. His pages abound with faithful pictures of customs and manners.

Jacques et Marie (1866): Napoleon Bourassa (1827-1916). Longfellow had a remarkable following in Quebec. The pretty Evangeline myth has been worked over, translated and imitated many times. Bourassa follows Longfellow closely in his story of the Acadians and the unfortunate exile.

Angéline de Montbrun (1884): Laure Conan (1854-1924). Mlle Felicité Angers read Kirby's The Golden Dog for the French Canadian publisher before it was translated by Pamphile LeMay, to insure no unnecessary aspersions being cast upon the religious and social sympathies of the French. Her first novel is a story of the Jesuit missionaries. Two subsequent romances, A l'Oeuvre et a l'Epreuve, and L'Oublie deal with the French régime, and the founding of Montreal by Maisonneuve.

Pour La Patrie (1895): Jules Paul Tardivel (1851-1905). This story also relates to the religious and patriotic life of Quebec. The two notes, patriotism and piety are insistent in practically all French Canadian writers, and while patriotism everywhere tends toward the strident, never has the altar been celebrated with more beauty and charm.

Noël au Canada (1900): Louis Fréchette (1839-1908). Having set the deeds of his compatriots to impassioned lyric verse, the Poet Laureate of Quebec turned to prose, and chronicled their patriotic and religious enthusiasms. Christmas in French Canada is, unfortunately, out of print.

Among the modern novelists Ernest Choquette's Les Ribaud (1898), and Robert LaRoque de Roquebrun's Les Habits Rouges (1923), deal with the Rebellion in Lower Canada. In each case the hero of the piece is the revolution. The latter, in D'Un Océan a l'Autre (1924), took for his theme the Riel rebellions of 1870 and 1885.

Maria Chapdelaine (1916): Louis Hémon (1880-1913). His classic of frontier life in Quebec is well known. It has been translated by both W. H. Blake and Sir Andrew Macphail. A Breton, of the same race as Cartier and Chateaubriand, and possessing something of the spirit of one and the piety of the other, he startled the world when his Quebec idyll appeared as a feuilleton in Le Temps (1913).

Such are a few of the romances valued in Quebec for the manner in which they enshrine the religious, social and national ideals and customs of the people. They have all been published during the past sixty-four years, but their roots go back into the soil claimed by Cartier, and colonized by Champlain for the Church and the King of France. "L'âme Canadienne-Francaise est restée foncièrement religieuse et chrétienne." (Mgr. Roy) You must turn to these novels for the illustrations of the manner in which French piety and patriotism have gone hand in hand.

B. English:

English Canadian romance dealing with the French régime is voluminous. It begins with The History of Emily Montague (1769) by Frances Brooke (1724-1789). The friend of Dr. Johnson and David Garrick, she accompanied her husband to Quebec where he was stationed as garrison chaplain shortly after the conquest. In her novel, patterned after Richardson's Pamela, this queen of the Quebec blue stockings, or, as she was sometimes called Little Red Riding Hood, retailed the gossip from the capital of the new world to the capital of England. It makes sprightly reading, and is important for the light it throws upon social life in and around Quebec in those days. For this reason it is an important historical document.

The Golden Dog (1877): William Kirby (1817-1906). This, the greatest of our novels, instituted a vogue for the stirring history of the last conflict. There are errors of historical fact, but it is a faithful and compelling narrative of the people and the times. Parkman praised it, which is enough. Many a page could be cited as a model of prose narrative style, and also used to lend verisimilitude to the history of the time.

Following Kirby the deluge. Mrs. Leprohon's Antoinette de Mirecourt, John Lesperance's The Bastonnais, W. D. Lighthall's The False Chevalier and The Young Seigneur, T. G. Marquis' Marguerite de Roberval, S. F. Harrison's The Forest of Bourg-Marie, James LeRossignol's Jean Baptiste and his book of legends The Flying Canoe, P. A. W. Wallace's selection of legends Jean Baptiste, E. W. Thomson's habitant stories, Old Man Savarin, and Duncan Campbell Scott's delightful collection of short stories In the Village of Viger, these are some of the better known. Charles G. D. Roberts was fascinated by the French period in the Maritimes, and has given us The Forge in the Forest, A Sister to Evangeline, The Young Acadian, and The Heart that Knows.

The Seats of the Mighty (1896): Gilbert Parker (1859—). This was the only historical romance on this period to threaten Kirby, but the Nestor of Niagara has held first place. Parker followed this successful story with others, When Valmond Came to Pontiac (1895), and The Power and the Glory (1926), a story of LaSalle.

English Canadian fiction dealing with other parts of the Dominion has been prolific, but not all of it rises above the level. We can indicate but a few of the more successful, and therefore more useful for our purpose. An interesting and useful source-book in Canadian history could be compiled from selected reading in this field.

Wacousta (1832): Major John Richardson (1796-1852). Young Richardson took part in the War of 1812, and has given many first hand accounts of the affair. His story is highly coloured, but even so that part of the narrative dealing with Pontiac is very worth while.

The Clockmaker, or The Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick (1836): Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865). Few possess the first editions of all of Haliburton's humorous works, and even those who do are not likely to read them through. For this reason The Best of Sam Slick, by P. A. W. Wallace, or Sam Slick, by Ray Palmer Baker, short selections from the best of this nimble-witted colonial judge, will serve admirably. While Haliburton's Tory politics and his antipathy to Durham and the Reformers, are now sadly out of date, his racy descriptions of Nova Scotia social life are in their way immortal.

Coming to the moderns we cover a wide field, and we can but mention a few of the titles. Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery gives one a memorable picture of simple home life on the north east coast of Prince Edward Island. Blue Water, by Frederick William Wallace, is a robust tale of deep sea fishermen off Nova Scotia. The Man From Glengarry, Black Rock and other novels by Ralph Connor contain forceful narratives about people and localities from Glengarry on the St. Lawrence to the Rockies. Mabel B. Dunham in The Trail of the Conestoga, and Toward Sodom, tells the story of the Mennonite settlement in Southern Ontario. Marian Keith's Duncan Polite, and J. H. McCulloch's The Men of Kildonan record the romance of Scottish settlement in Ontario and on the Red River. Frederick Philip Grove gives a tragic picture of the prairie in Settlers of the Marsh. Grove's autobiographical romance A Search for America, perhaps our best recent novel, provides a memorable picture of the New Canadian making himself at home among us. Alan Sullivan's Under Northern Lights carries us to the great north land, and The Rapids pictures life on the rivers beyond Ft. William. A. M. Chisholm's When Stewart came to Sitkum, and The Downfall of Tremlaham by Marius Berbeau, reflect life and Indian traditions on the coast and along the wild rivers of British Columbia Laura Goodman Salverson, an Albertan of Icelandic forbears, has written two books dealing with her people—The Viking Heart a story of Icelandic settlement on the Prairies, and Lord of the Silver Dragon a romance of Leif Ericson. Norman Duncan's Dr. Luke of the Labrador and kindred tales associated with that bleak coast are well known.

ii Poetry

A French:

When we come to poetry we are in a field which few historians seem able to appreciate as material for their craft. They are willing to use myths and statistics, party songs and caricatures, but poetry, rarely. Yet, if one wishes to give breath to French Canadian history, one will find many a fine swinging line in the works of Octave Crémazie (1827-1879) such as "Chant du vieux Soldat canadien", "Carillon" and "Chant des Voyageurs." Louis Fréchette's Légende d'un Peuple (1887) also can not well be overlooked. It makes patriotism lyrical. Poetry about the flag is always nearly banal, but his "Le Drapeau fantôme—

Le vieux drapeau francais qui flotte dans le vent!

can be matched by lyrics of beauty and power. Pamphile LeMay's Les Gouttelettes (1904), although a long sonnet sequence of unequal felicity, breathes the spirit of the national social and religious life of his people. Blanche Lamontagne has made the spirit of her people vocal in Par nos Champs et nos Rives (1912). Over against the charm of LeMay's pious confidences, and the pastoral simplicity of Blanche Lamontagne, there stands William Chapman (1850-1917) expressing patriotic and religious inspirations with the passionate fervor of an orator in such collections as Quebécquoises (1876), Les Feuilles d'Erable (1890), and Rayons du Nord (1910). The younger poets of Quebec, Albert Lozeau, Emile Nelligan, René Chopin, Paul Morin and others, are chiefly concerned with lyrical protests, and longings after an elusive beauty. Alfred Des Rochers is the poet supreme of French Canadian fields and woods. The very essence of the Provinces is in his epic lines. These reflect more clearly than any social study a new trend in the thought and life of today in Quebec. It will be a long time before the impulse of the Epic School of Quebec exhausts itself, and in this noble bequest of the lyric heart of New France the historian, yes, even the scientific historian, may refresh himself as well as his readers.

B. English:

What has been said of French Canada is equally true of the rest of the Dominion. From the days when Oliver Goldsmith (1787-1861) the first native born Canadian poet, a grand nephew of the English poet, published The Rising Village (1825-1834), down to E. J. Pratt's Verses of the Sea (1930) there have appeared men and women whose verse belongs to the record of their times as truly as hansard. The first self-conscious note in Canadian imaginative literature was sung by a poor civil servant, Charles Sangster (1822-1893) in The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay (1856). This enchantment with the Canadian scene was caught up by Charles Mair (1838-1927) in Dreamland and Other Poems (1869), by that timid and beautiful spirit Isabella Valancy Crawford (1850-1887) in Old Spookse's Pass and Malcom's Katie (1884) and by a whole choir, known as the Group of the Sixties, Charles G. D. Roberts, Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman, Wilfred Campbell and Duncan Campbell Scott. If Tom Maclnnes' Vancouver Chinatown, Robert Service's Yukon Days, William Henry Drummond's habitants, Pauline Johnson's Indian wives and chieftains and voyageurs, if these are memorable figures in our national life and literature, then you must place along side Flint and Feather, Songs of a Sourdough and the rest, Isabella Valancy Crawford's vivid pastoral epic "Malcolm's Katie," Roberts' Songs of the Common Day (1893), Lampman's Lyrics of Earth (definitive edition 1925), Campbell's (1905) and Scott's (1927) Collected Poems, Carman's Low Tide on Grand Pré (1893) and two later collections, MacDonald's The Song of the Prairie Land (1918) and Out of the Wilderness (1926), Pratt's Newfoundland Verse (1923) and Marjorie Pickthall's Poems (1927). These standard collections surely ought to be in our school libraries. The task of making an anthology could be undertaken by a class, separate authors being assigned to each student. There is abundant material available for French classes in our High Schools, while English poetry covers a wide range suitable for both Primary and Secondary Grades.

An Anthology of Canadian verse built around the great characters and events in our history, the pageantry of our seasons, incidents of work and play, frontier life, and our kindred of the wild, would appropriately betroth literature to life, and exalt many a page in the chronicles of our nation.

iii Drama

Canadian drama began with Charles Mair's Tecumseh (1896). It was not meant to be acted, and for our purpose has little value. We can discover more about Brock and Tecumseh elsewhere, while little that Mair says illuminates either character in any special sense. Wilfred Campbell's Daulac (des ormeaux) (1908) is better, and not a few passages will be found which can be used with effect. Duncan Campbell Scott's Pierre, is in the idyllic vein of his short stories in The Village of Viger. The Unheroic North by Merrill Denison (1923) attempts to portray in four plays the vigorous and mostly unattractive life of northern Ontario. Denison's Henry Hudson and Other Historical Plays (1931) offers six dramas on as many great characters and episodes in our history. This volume lays the foundation of a new historical drama in Canada. Although Canadian Plays from Hart House (2 vols.) and similar collections are interesting exhibits in the history of Canadian Drama, the historian will find little of value for his purpose. Much might also be said of Marjorie Pickthall's The Wood Carver's Wife (1922) perhaps the best one act play we have produced, as well as plays by Robert Norwood, Mazo de la Roche and others. Marjorie Pickthall's play centres about Lorette and offers an unforgettable picture of a half-breed wood carver's passion.

French Canadian drama is not without a history, indeed Lescarbot's Histoire de la Nouvelle France (1609) records the production of a play at Port Royal, Champlain being a spectator. However from Joseph Quesnel's two comedies and F. A. Marchand's plays to Frère Marie Victorin's Charles LeMoyne (1925), and Peuple sans Histoire (1925), we find practically nothing of real significance—at least not for the historian.

iv Legend

The French Canadian has stood alone in his preoccupation with the legends of his people. Perhaps this sort of thing thrives better in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada. Be that as it may the body of legend is great, and of first rate importance to the historian. We have seen how it has entered into the historical novels of many English Canadians, and how Wallace and LeRossignol have worked them up into delightful literary offerings. With the French, however, the study and preservation of these relics of the past is a science. Among the older writers we have such works as the following: Légendes (1860) by Abbé H. R. Casgrain; Trois Legendes de Mon Pays (1876) and Forestiers et Voyageurs (1884) by Joseph Charles Taché; Souvenirs et Legendes (1877) by P. J. O. Chauveau, and Contes Vrais (1899) by Pamphille LeMay. If you add to these Ernest Gagnon's Chansons Populaires du Canada, Folk Songs of French Canada, by Marius Barbeau and Edward Sapir, and French Canadian Folk Songs, by J. Murray Gibbon, you have an imposing list of first class source material for the historian who cares to read it.

Marius Barbeau has been indefatigable in collecting French and Indian folk songs and folk tales. So vast is the amount of material harvested that it will require years to put it in shape. A hint as to the scope of these researches may be had by a glance at the reports of the Ethnological Department of the Dominion Government. Of a more popular nature are such collections as Legends of Vancouver, by Pauline Johnson, and Indian Days in the Rockies by Marius Barbeau. There is the stuff of fiction and history here, as may be seen in B. A. McKelvie's The Huldowget and Barbeau's The Downfall of Temlaham. It has been a constant source of wonder to me that our writers in their quest for themes do not utilize this amazing repository of legend, and folk lore.

v Settlement Sketches and Chroniques

I trust that I have made it sufficiently clear that the historian has many allies which can enhance the reality and interest of his work. More might be said regarding the contribution made by our essayists, our humorists, and the many volumes of published eloquence. Archibald MacMechan has shown what an historian may do when wedding the dry details of documents to the imaginative arts. Ultima Thule, Sagas of the Sea, Old Province Tales, There Go the Ships are all collections of essays, brief but by no means inconsequential. They possess all the historical value of scrupulously documented treaties, but they are also documents humane, full of the breath of life, and instinct with poetry and the amenities of a superb style. MacMechan's papers belong to the group of settlement sketches, that class of book which includes Winter Studies and Summer Rambles, by Anna Jameson, Roughing it in the Bush, by Susanna Moodie, The Backwoods of Canada, by Catharine Parr Traill and such like. They have to do with the humble annals of simple but brave men and women.

In a sense De Gaspé's Les Anciens Canadiens belongs to this class, since the love story is negligible and the accounts of other days and other ways the things which he desires to preserve. Benjamin Sulte (1841-1923) was an indefatigable antiquarian, as was his contemporary Sir James LeMoine. The complete works of the former are being published in a great many volumes. A bibliography of LeMoine would fill much space. Charles Mair said of him to William Kirby, "LeMoine is a Mine". To him Kirby was indebted for the kernel of his novel The Golden Dog, Parker for the core of Seats of the Mighty, Mair himself for the character of Lefroy in Tecumseh, and a host of others for more or less. Indeed the French are supreme in frontier chronicles, from the Légends Canadiennes (1860) of Abbé Henri Raymond Casgrain, Joseph Charles Taché's Forestiers et Voyageurs (1863), P. J. O. Chauveau's Souvenirs et Lègends (1877), to the many publications of Hubert La Rue (1831-1881), Henri Edmond Faucher de Saint-Maurice (1844-1897), Arthur Buies (1840-1901), and Sir Adolphe Routhier (1839-1929). Noëls, chroniques and rècits of great value abound in their work. Later writers concern themselves with more recent settlement life. Frère Marie Victorin's The Chopping Bee and other Laurentian Stories, Adjutor Rivard's Chez-Nous (translated by W. H. Blake as Round Home) Georges Bouchard's Vieilles Choses, Vieilles Temps (translated as Other Days, Other Ways), Mgr. Camille Roy's Propos Rustiques, these and others are gold for the historian.


The history of Canadian Art parallels in many ways the history of Canadian literature. Both may be taken as commentaries on the evolution of the Dominion from the colonial status into full nationhood. In this section I do not propose to suggest that I am a critic, much less a connoisseur of Canadian art. I wish merely to do one thing; to show as clearly as I can the contribution which an indigenous art in Canada may make to the new history in which we are all interested.

Until the superb drawings of C. W. Jefferys, R.C.A. appeared we were at the mercy of the photoengraver. Our school histories were surfeited with grubby daubs of portraits, and other wretched fillers. But Jefferys was a true historian as well as an artist of rare insight and technical skill. Working long over French and English documents, verifying his creations to the last button and musket lock, he constructed the great scenes of our history, from Cartier to the present, and from Atlantic to Pacific. He was not content merely with faithful portraits; what he sought to do was to place his characters in the proper context of their most significant achievements, Joseph Howe being carried in triumph from the Old Province building on the shoulders of his friends, or Alexander MacKenzie in company with his fellow adventurers gazing upon the waters of the Pacific, or Sieur de la Verendrye with his companions looking westward to the shining mountains. One has only to look into The Story of Canada, by Wrong, Martin and Sage to realize what a revolution he has made. So great has been his industry that we hope before long to have a complete pictorial history of Canada by him. A hint as to the completeness of his work may be had by reference to The Ryerson Canadian History Readers, in which scores of his creations appear.

The work of C. W. Jefferys has inspired the thought which underlies this section. It is briefly this. When our writers have been shown to offer material for the enrichment of almost every period of our history in imaginative prose and in verse, why can we not reach out for the works of our artists, who are able to illuminate the Canadian scene, its glorious landscape and seascape, and the various features of community, frontier and industrial life? I shall endeavour to show that this material is ready to hand.

You are all familiar with the topographical scenes drawn by English military men. They avoided figure work, but what they did is useful as documents are. The sketches by the explorers, such as Champlain, Hennepin, LaHontan, LaPoterie and others belong to the same class. Richard Short, who visited Canada in 1759-1760, has left a number of excellent engravings which are too well known to require comment. They were a long step forward in historical illustration. The next significant date is 1842, when Canadian Scenery (2 vols.) appeared with the excellent plates by W. H. Bartlett. Forty years later this idea was developed in Picturesque Canada, edited by George Munro Grant, and illustrated by such artists as Lucius O'Brien, F. M. Bell-Smith, Robert Harris and others. It has always been a mystery to me why these plates by Short, Bartlett and the artists in Picturesque Canada have not been more frequently used in our school histories. If the aim of history is to acquaint the student with the country of his birth or adoption, surely such illustrations as these have their place.

As in literature so in art, the European tradition was strong at the beginning. Most of the artists were born abroad, studied there, and took their cues from the Paris salons. In spite of that numbers of them were fascinated by the Canadian scene. Paul Kane (1810-1871) was the first. Born in Ireland he settled in York with his parents, in 1819. His great contribution was made in Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America (1843). These paintings are authentic documents, and we should be the poorer without A Blackfoot Chief, The Buffalo Pound, and many more. A monograph on this artist is badly needed, together with reproductions in colour of his chief canvases.

Kane was followed by Cornelius Krieghoff (1812-1872). From his birthplace in Dusseldorf he went to Montreal, and has left many fine things. He was the pioneer painter, as Charles Sangster was the pioneer poet, of Canadian landscape. His beautiful paintings of Quebec landscapes and the habitant are a part of the record of that time, and might supplant giddy looking sketches of storming parties and blockhouses.

Fully to sketch the artists who belong in a vital way to Canadian history would require more knowledge than I possess. It may not be impertinent, however, to mention a few names with which I am familiar. The name James Wilson Morrice (1869-1924) suggests itself, with his fine interpretations of the Canadian scene, particularly of Quebec village life. Horatio Walker has made the Ile d'Orleans his own. There you will find Habitant life—all of it. Few get any farther than his "Oxen Drinking." Other Quebec names come to mind. Maurice G. Cullen, a Newfoundlander, who was selected for the Canadian War Memorial Commission, has given us many good things beside "In Lower Town, Quebec," and "Ice Harvest." Clarence Gagnon's "Quebec Village", "Wayside Cross", "The Races on the River" and others are human documents of real value for our purpose. Edwin Holgate has done fine work in perpetuating the totems and human types of the Coast Indians, while his wood cuts for Other Days and Other Ways are truly remarkable. Robert Pilot's sketches of Quebec town and country life, Suzor-Cote's sculpture work of Maria Chapdelaine, and Indian Women of Caughnawaga, his paintings "The Breviary", "Street in Arthabasca" and his explorers and coureurs-de-bois are all grist for our mill. Louis Philippe Hérbert's statues, Bishop Laval, Georges Etienne Cartier, Maisonneuve and Evangeline are deservedly popular, although sculpture does not lend itself to book illustration.

In Ontario the work of A. Y. Jackson "A Winter Road", "Entrance to Halifax Harbor", "November, Lake Superior" and his line drawings made on an arctic trip, are vigorous, and belong to the native Canadian school both as to spirit and technique. J. E. H. MacDonald, a member of the Group of Seven, can not be ignored. His "Solemn Land", and "Nova Scotia Coast" are samples of several vivid pieces. Jeffery's water colours of the prairies, John Innes, paintings and ink drawing of British Columbia historical episodes, these are but hints of what the historian may find if he looks ever so casually.

Caricature has a place in historical illustration. We have no Max Beerbohm and no Spy, but this sort of thing should be encouraged. The humorist and the caricaturist both have their place in the record. John W. Bengough's work in Grip is perhaps the most familiar artistic satire we possess, but the names of Sam Hunter, of the Globe, and A. C. Racey of the Montreal Star are worth keeping in mind. It would be an interesting pastime for some student of Canadian history to go through our newspapers, and make a list of the best of Canadian caricature.


You will remember a remark made by the old book collector in The Crime of Sylvestre Bonard: "There is no reading more easy, more fascinating, and more delightful than that of a catalogue." If you have not experienced that pleasure you ought to read The Amenities of Book Collecting by A. Edward Newton, and Books and Bidders, by Dr. Rosenbach. Personally I can think of no hobby which offers such rare enjoyment as that of book collecting. This is what I mean by the magnificent obsession.

A medieval book seller has left us this choice morsel:

Still am I busy bookes assemblynge,
For to have plentie is a pleasant thynge,
In my conceyt, and to have them ay in hande,
But what they mene do I not understande.

No doubt there is good fun in that, although it too much resembles a war-time millionaire lining the walls of his library with sets of the classics in de luxe bindings. Incunabula is a fine field for the collector, but if he can not read the old books what is the use? I have in mind an obsession for books which one not only can understand, but which one may also love.

We are incurably acquisitive. Some collect stamps, engravings, porcelains and autographs. Others are satisfied only with Rembrandts, gems or trophies of the hunt. Indians were addicted to scalps, the gentlemen of Borneo wanted whole heads. Henry Ford has a taste for dilapidated saw mills and old inns. The things which men horde are as variable as men themselves, running the gamut from wives in India to walking sticks in Sackville.

It is interesting to recall that such great national libraries as the British Museum, the Bodleian, the Sorbonne, the Smithsonian, the Vatican, the Congressional and the Dominion Archives, have owed many of their proudest collections to humble men who have carried on their hobby in inconspicuous places. There are homes, some of them castles of grandees others of less exalted men, which have enshrined libraries that are the boast of their nations. Succeeding generations of heirs have added to the treasure room with industry and taste, and today their value is past computing. The breaking up of many of these ancestral houses has provided a rich hunting ground for millionaire book collectors in the United States, as the Huntington Library in California, the Clements Library in Michigan, the Morgan Library in New York, and many more attest.

There have always been splendid buccaneers in the book collecting business, from the days when Richelieu carried off an entire library down to Dr. Rosenbach, to whom $100,000 for a book means little. To these lords of the industry a Shakespeare First Folio, a Caxton's Le Morte d'Arthur or a Kilmarnock Burns are mere trifles. In making a plea for more book collectors in Canada I do not mean to suggest that you should aim to annex a Titus Andronicus, or a Boccacio, a Tamerlaine or an Endymion, presentation copies, and of course perfect "with all points." These are excellent in their way, but that is not what I am urging now. I am thinking of the student of Canadian history and Canadian literature, a person with good judgment but small resources and little leisure, who chooses wisely and well, whose imagination foresees the tremendous value such trifles as broadsheets, letters, MSS and contemporary first editions will have fifty or a hundred years hence.

I hope many of you will collect Canadiana. There are but two requirements necessary. First you should know what you like, travel, poetry, maps or illustrations, and of these know what is authentic and potentially valuable. Then you must study the fine art of patience, and be willing to wait years for the missing items to turn up. J. P. Morgan or Henry Huntington can call in the best book agents on the five continents, taking the beauties at their will no matter what they cost. Others must watch and wait. Don Vincente the Spanish monk coveted a rare Lamberto Palmart (Valencia, 1482) and when the owner would not part with it he burned the house down and his enemy with it, but he got the book! Today our methods are more subtle, but scarcely less persistent. We do not plunder chateaux and abbeys for Gutenberg Bibles and such like, but we are unforgetting and unrelenting none the less. The remorseless hunt goes on in old houses, dilapidated book shops, and dusty bargain bins, ever hoping that the treasure we seek will be in the hands of an unwary dealer or an innocent owner!

There is a third requirement. One can not buy up the universe, so one must draw a circle round that field or that author which one decides to collect. One must know all about the writer or the period to collect wisely, and one must aim to make it perfect. A little bit of everything will not do. Far better to have a complete Cook, Haliburton, or Fréchette than to possess ragged ends of a score or more. Early works of travel, old journals, historical paintings, engravings and holograph letters are for the few. Harry Widener left to Harvard University, his alma mater, that fatal day when he went down on the Titanic with a rare copy of Bacon's Essays in his pocket, one of the most remarkable libraries ever assembled. He was only twenty-seven but he had wealth, leisure and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the field. What Harry Widener did, you in your own way may do. Up and down the land, in old homes, in out of the way places, on book stalls there are awaiting you precious things which will give your library distinction, and should you some day offer it to your college, you will make it a mecca. Few will be able to have agents bid for them at Sotheby's in London, or at the Anderson-American Art Galleries in New York; let the archives attend to that. All of you may repeat the thrilling experience of those who have come upon forgotten cupboards and dusty store-rooms in Canada, and have brought to light priceless documents from the early days of the Colony.

We should have an art centre in all our country towns. A canvas added each year will mean a great deal in fifty years. The taste of our people generally is unspeakable. The prints which adorn the walls of our schools are ghastly. If we can not afford a proper art gallery, let us not wait, but use the reception halls of our schools or public buildings.

We should have archives in every county town, and if possible a museum attached. Our county town libraries are frequently pathetic. The walls are lined with fiction from the ends of the earth, but few of them have a decent representative collection of Canadiana. Possibly not more than a score of them make any attempt to gather in historical data relating to the parishes and townships within their borders. Governments and councils have funds for highways and drains, but it requires a major operation to secure a grant for a rare book. Everything should not go to Ottawa. Every county should be proud of local and national history and literature, and should fill a treasure room. Here is where you come in. The archivist or the librarian can not be everywhere, but he may have the hundred sleepless eyes of Argus and the hundred untiring arms of Briareus, through your co-operation.

We should have many more local historical and literary societies. A great deal yet needs to be done in the study of local history and tradition, place names, genealogies and so on. Parish registers, commonplace books, diaries, scrap books, correspondence, family records and such like are the stuff out of which history and even literature are made.

There is not one of you who might not become distinguished in some branch of Canadiana. Such collections as those of Dr. J. C. Webster of Shediac, Dr. Victor Morin of Montreal, Mr Justice Riddell of Toronto, The Honourable Dr Rutherford of Edmonton, Dr James Maclean of Winnipeg, and Judge F. W. Howay of New Westminster all began with one book. The finest collection of Maritime poets in Canada is owned by a railway official in Toronto, R. H. Hathaway, who for thirty years has gathered in one book or pamphlet or broadsheet at a game. If I offer any advice to you it would be this: (I) Single out one writer and learn all you can about him. You will discover the lacunae and will desire to fill these in. Gather first editions, in perfect condition. Keep scrap books, note books and picture albums about him. Out of such simple material William Kirby wrought his Golden Dog, and every other book he wrote. Major John Richardson used his note books for his novels and histories. Phillipe Aubert De Gaspé built Les Anciens Canadiens out of his notes and reminiscences in which he had shepherded the traditions of his people. Why name others? (II) Find out those who have made a study of your specialty, and profit by their mistakes and successes. It will save you time and money. (III) Keep a card index of your collection, entering on it title, author, publisher, date and place, interesting points about the book, binding, etc. (IV) If there is no check list of the author or subject you intend to make your hobby enlist the assistance of the archives and leading librarians. Never go it blind. Someday we shall have a bibliographical society in Canada which will make the work easier for all of us. (V) A complete collection of Haliburton or Carman is probably impossible today, and at the best you will have to wait a considerable time between purchases. In such cases it would be well to have a running mate less difficult, say a Lampman, Pickthall, Garneau or Kirby. (VI) And finally, be sure to keep a scrap book for your writers, and another for locals. Keep a note book for these also, and another in which you can jot down conversations with old people, notes on rare books in your community, monument inscriptions, parish registers, folk songs and folk tales, copy important letters and other documents, and make sketches of historic places. Had it not been for a few such passing notes by a few acquaintances we should know nothing about Shakespeare the man. The Gospels, indeed, grew out of scattered reminiscences, and a few records of the sayings of Jesus. There is nothing trivial to the historian.


i Amateur Antiquarians

In addition to what I have said regarding the necessity for building up a library of source material in poetry, fiction, community chronicles and so on, the importance of Canadian art in searching the history of our country, and the educational value to be derived from the thrilling book collecting game, or the acquisitive game in general, there are other useful and interesting activities, which should commend themselves to the average school.

Any little red school house can have a museum of local interest, and value. "Local history, if used properly, brings general history within the limits of the child's experience and so makes it more real."[2] While no set time should be given for a "class" in local history it ought to be vividly present in every course of history and literature. Local records, legends, and myths are the foundation of history. Community chronicles might be "built" round central themes insuring definiteness. Old letters, speeches, maps, interesting events in the lives of local folk, illustrations, photographs, documents or copies of them of many sorts, parish minutes and extracts from parish registers, transcriptions of monuments and drawings of ruins and landmarks, military records, place names, genealogies and short notes on local settlement, races, religious denominations, customs and the like.

This practice generally followed, and the results carefully preserved, would not only assist historians but make historians as well. It combines the best features of the source method and the problem method. [3]By this the student learns how to be critical and thoughtful, to verify the subject, and is stimulated to further reading and research without compulsion, through the kindling of his constructive imagination.

"Happy is that boy who, having so 'grown up with' the story of his country, can people the fields and lanes of his home with the figures of the past; can hear the clatter of Rupert's horsemen down the village street, and can picture the good monks catching baskets full of trout in the stream, (there were more trout in it before the Reformation) wherein he is failing to get a rise."[4]

ii History as Drama

The historical pageant has a useful function in teaching as you well know. I am not thinking of the pageant which is already written and only requires rehearsal, some more or less elaborate presentation of an historic episode quite unrelated to the story of our nation. I have in mind something quite different. There are interesting events in the three hundred years of our history which lend themselves to reproduction. If possible they should be given out of doors, on the bank of some river or lake. Historical drawings provide ample data regarding costumes, weapons, implements and such like, which can all be made at home. The main thing is to capture the spirit of the episode, whether it be the Order of Good Cheer, or a frontier Husking Bee, the landing of Cartier or an old time political hustings. Not every community will believe that it has a local history sufficiently interesting to work up into a pageant, but L. M. Montgomery had simple material for Anne of Green Gables and Mabel Dunham for the Trail of the Conestoga. The chief thing is to reconstruct and interpret the past, making it vivid and meaningful. We require more opportunities for the exercise of latent dramatic talent. The teaching of history and literature both stand to gain hereby, but the boy and girl will gain most in character, understanding, and enjoyment. The Drama in Canada will find the soil thereby enriched, promoting a growth in power, subtlety and persuasiveness, which it has hitherto not enjoyed.

iii History as Art

Other activities may be undertaken in the local community which will build upon the pleasure instinct of the student, (and of his parents as well) and contribute directly to good scholarship and good citizenship to boot. We have seen how history and literature both gain through hobbies, the play habit and in other ways. As we acquire new skills and develop old ones, we grow in confidence, in ripeness, in subtlety, and thus it is that the Arts touch hands. The drawing lesson can contribute new by-products also. The student may link up his study of design composition, draftsmanship, with those features of literature and history in which he found great enjoyment. He may make real models of buildings or architects' plans of them, sketch panoramas, draw the tools, implements and weapons of the period, show by drawings the evolution of the home exterior, of costumes, chairs and conveyances, illustrate man's conquest of the world by reproducing charts and maps of several ages, or indicate the changing ideas in pottery making or statuary, by drawings of representative pieces. The range is wide and need only be indicated. Both Art and History will take on new interest and significance. Should the class undertake to "build a book" the illustrations are ready to hand. The camera club will provide others. The chief thing is to enter artistically into the study of man's story, more particularly of Canada's story, and the story of the home community, just as I suggested a moment ago, that we should likewise enter into all of it dramatically.

iv The Beloved Community

The other suggestion is that inter-community gatherings of school children should be encouraged. This idea has been worked out on the continent, at Château de Bierville (near Etampes), at Freiburg, and at Bedales School, England.

The New Canadians within our gates come together with us in their native costume, tell about their own national inheritance, relate the stirring deeds of their homeland, exhibit illustrations of their native industries, homes, public buildings, landscapes, and works of art. Native born Canadians will endeavor to match these with similar narratives and exhibits. They will all learn that citizenship in a new country as well as citizenship in the world demands a fine sense of mutual sympathy, of interdependence, of solidarity. Differences are chiefly superficial, and the similarities profound,—the imponderables. Life takes on new meaning as a quest all make together, and Canadian citizenship a free and glad exchange of the best each has to offer. This inter-community gathering of school children in Canada, if encouraged between French and English boys and girls each learning to speak the Mother-tongue of the other, would achieve a lasting bonne entente. What I wish very much to stress is this, we must teach history better in order that we shall make better history to teach. By every possible means let us encourage "a sense of history as the common adventure of all mankind," for this, as Mr. H. G. Wells declares, "is as necessary for peace within as it is for peace between the nations."


Throughout these lectures I have tried to show that whatever of literature or art possesses life must send down its roots deep into the native soil. In the rich loam of our national experience they will find character and nourishment. There is a virtue, a vitality, in being wedded to the soil which the air plants of art and literature can never know. I have also tried to show how the best of these achievements in the realm of imaginative experience may, and must, be incorporated in the writing of our new Canadian histories.

A remarkable book has recently come to my attention; it is John Dewey's Impressions of Soviet Russia. (N. Y. 1929) He has an illuminating chapter on Education which illustrates a theory which I have been working out for some time. Dr. Dewey shows that the Russian schools are the "ideaological arm of the revolution." Their method has been based partly on Tolstoy's version of Rousseau's doctrine of freedom and partly on the methods for the formation of social attitudes borrowed from University Settlements in the United States. They have also borrowed from America the theory of the value of productive labour. In other words, they recognise that the aims and methods of education are affected by varying economic, political and social conditions.

The Russian educationists have set out to study the actual conditions in which the children live at home. They aim at interpreting their acts in the light of these environing conditions just as a physician would. Having studied the social causations in the various areas, they were next compelled to consider history, geography, language and literature in the light of them. Upon these discoveries they based their projects, that is, "the conscious control of every educational procedure by reference to a single and comprehensive social purpose." (p. 76)

Of course the theory has been carried to rather weird extremes. It would seem to promise the dissolution of the family life, the destruction of collective worship and many more. Lenin foresaw all this and said: "The school, apart from life, apart from politics, is a lie, a hypocrisy." He might have said, that his theory of the ends of education was no worse than the malicious principle of industrialization in America, whereby the pupil was trained for individualism and personal competition. Be that as it may, we are not here debating the question. It is enough to say that their ideal is, whatever the actual conditions may be, "the union of general culture with efficiency of labour, and power to share in public life.... the development of the population in the spirit of communism."

This is not vocational training, as we understand it. While they aim to discover individual capacities, so that students may become "socially useful", vocational training and technical instruction are postponed until "a general technological and scientific-social foundation has been laid." (p. 89)

Uniformity in education ends with this initial foundation course in communistic ethics. "Each province has its own experimental school, that supplements the work of the central or federal experimental station, by studying local resources, materials and problems with a view to adapting school work to them." (p. 95) Each local school district becomes an educational laboratory, in which the pupils take an intelligent part. They not only are conducted on exploratory trips and taught to observe for themselves, but they also collect for the school museum such flora, fauna, minerals and other data as they select on their individual and collective excursions.

Textbooks are also adapted to the local environment. There is no such thing as a provincial authorization. Each book is designed to meet the social and industrial needs of the particular area. They hope that in this way cultural independence may be achieved, at the same time avoiding superiority complexes and racial prejudices through the knowledge of similar experiments being conducted in a great number of experimental schools. This may sound complex, but it is really not so in practice. In building up the curricula they avoid splitting up the studies into a confusing array of compulsory and elective courses. The official statement of the central committee says: "The study of human work and its organization" shall be the integrating centre of all school classes. Teachers shall have "recourse to the experience of humanity—so that the local phenomena may be connected with national and international industrial life."

To achieve this the teachers themselves must be students. Teachers in the West relate their subjects to a variety of purposes, but in Russia there is but one objective. So it is that the student-teacher and his classes pursue nature study, inquire into local customs and traditions, inspect sanitation, observe horticultural and agricultural methods, visit art galleries and criticize everything from methods in hygiene to madness in political history, and all this with "socially useful work" as the acid test. Krupshaia, Lenin's widow, now in the federal department of education, has this to say regarding education in the present régime: "Its purpose is to enable every human being to obtain personal cultivation.... (and) to share to the full in all the things that give value to human life."

There is much in this that should commend itself to us. The time will never come perhaps when education will be entirely divorced from propaganda of any sort, that is propaganda in its best sense. Whether the aim be political, social, industrial, aesthetic or moral, whether it is any or all of these, we would do well to remember the Russian experiment, and relate them to the local environment and to local needs, having at all times "recourse to the experience of humanity."

This would be especially fruitful in the teaching of history and literature. I can fancy few experiments more pregnant with interest and good results than that of putting these subjects in closer contact with what I call the magic of the soil. There are many areas in our country where the soil is fertile in romance and warm with the throbbing life of the spirit. From Annapolis Royal, and the Tantramar, to the shores mapped by Cook, three hundred years have left their rich deposit. Surely we would do well to plant our teaching of history and literature in these, sure in the confidence that our boys and girls will kindle at the remembrance of those high deeds and sweet songs, and keep alive the fires upon the altars of remembrance. It is a privilege to have been born within sight of Beausejour and the "journeying tides of Fundy", to know that near here stood Westcock Parsonage, the cradle of a self conscious Canadian literature. No youth should go out of these schools without high pride in these men and these traditions. Life comes out of life, and if ever we are to achieve better things we will of necessity have to graft the new branches to these study trees of an elder day. We have spoken at length of the sources of national solidarity, of the aims and methods of education as applied to history, of the contributions of the spirit to the enrichment of our national epic, but it all simmers down to this. The effectiveness with which we teach the story of our country, and inspire a lively and intelligent pride in it, will depend upon our success in building the community, its needs, its achievements, its spirit, into the fabric of the whole nation. Each parish and school district will then become a local experimental station, self conscious and self directed, and like the mythical warrior, its strength doubled with each contact with the soil.

A moment ago I said that we must teach history better in order that we shall make better history. It is an enterprise in which the whole community becomes student, discoverer and adventurer, among the great legacies of the past, in order that some new legacy may be bequeathed to the future. This affects us as citizens of Canada. Loving the fruitful soil, ravished by the beauty of landscape and seascape, stirred by the deeds of three centuries of master builders and home makers, kindled by artists and writers who have drunk deep the wine of our life, participating in the humble tasks of nation building, this Dominion, my country, becomes mine in so many ways that no one can ever take it from me.

Absorbed in its story I have become in turn, explorer, husbandman, artist, poet, dramatist, craftsman and neighbour. My ideas have significance because they have taken root in this soil. My hunger for beauty and desires of the spirit were born here, and must ever find their satisfaction here.

"There is no more precious element in our national heritage than the sturdy individualism which bids defiance alike to subjection and standardization. The visualization of this great inheritance of traditions and deeds guarantees the continuity and significance of our national life, and commands individual and collective responsibility."

Thou hast inherited Sparta: Adorn her!

[1] Translated (Canadians of Old) by Georgiana M. Pennée, Desbarants, Quebec, 1864. (Seigneur D'Haberville, Musson, Toronto, 1929.) Also by Charles G. D. Roberts (Cameron of Lochiel) L. C. Page, Boston, 1905.

[2] The Teaching of History. By C. H. Jarvis, Oxford, 1917. p. 46.

[3] The Teaching of History in Junior and Senior High Schools. By R. M. Tryon. Ginn and Go., 1921. Vide Chap. IV. Modern Elementary School Practice. By G. E. Freeland. MacMillan, 1919. Vide Chaps. II, III.

Supervised Study in American History. By M. E. Simpson. MacMillan, 1919.

[4] Introductory History of England. By C. R. L. Fletcher, (Preface.)

Transcriber's note:

The word "français" and its variants sometimes have c-cedilla, sometimes not (français vs. francais). We have not attempted to standardize these spellings.

[End of New History for Old, by Lorne Pierce]