Although for the greater portion of the century the growth of the British North American Colonies has been slow, yet it has been sound, and it will be better for Canada in the future if the growth is not too rapid. If the process of consolidation takes place regularly and moderately, every institution in the land will be sounder. If the majority of the immigrants which the country annually receives are similar in character and principles to those of the early colonists, we shall have nothing to fear in the future. We have nothing in our past history to discourage us, and much in our present condition and prospects to stimulate us. We who are privileged to live in the closing years of the century behold a wonderful unity and an extraordinary advancement of the whole Dominion in all its great interests. And the man, if such there be, who was born on this soil and sprung from such an ancestry as the early colonial settlers and United Empire Loyalists, or from the loins of settlers of a later generation, who is not proud of his country and of being called a British American, is unworthy of his race and the land of his birth, and unworthy of having his name classed with that of the noble Iroquois (Paul Guidon.) There are persons who have acted a less noble part in life’s drama, than the British officer and his wife who settled at Grimross Neck, and even a less noble part than Paul Guidon, who have won golden wreaths for their tombs, and since Margaret Godfrey’s name and deeds have been dug from oblivion, should they be forgotten or the Iroquois tomb go unadorned?
Our past in its three great eras, that of settlement, Responsible government and union, shows grand steps in the country’s triumphant march. If with decaying sectional spirit, the grand idea of British American independence takes hold of the minds and hearts of the people, this would be found the gradual power that would impel the country to its national destiny. As we behold mighty provinces forming and splendid cities rising, we begin more fully to realize the glorious career on which the Dominion has entered, these events should compel, yea they announce a safe, wise and splendid future.
The few millions who have sprung from those who founded the colonies, trace back with lineal love their blood to them. So may it be in the distant future millions more will look back with pride and trace their blood through those who formed a nation in peace, to those who founded the colonies, and to those who formed the union.
We may read of the past, write of the past, and think of the past. To do so is often profitable; it is also a pleasure. But, as we admire the spirit and works of those who have passed beyond the flood, we should more earnestly prepare for the future. “The sleeping and the dead are but pictures.” “Yet, gazing on these long and intently, and often we may pass into the likeness of the departed, may stimulate their labors, and partake of their immortality.”