“The question of the hour for us,” said Lorne Murchison to his fellow-townsmen, curbing the strenuous note in his voice, “is deeper than any balance of trade can indicate, wider than any department of statistics can prove. We cannot calculate it in terms of pig-iron, or reduce it to any formula of consumption. The question that underlies this decision for Canada is that of the whole stamp and character of her future existence. Is that stamp and character to be impressed by the American Republic effacing”—he smiled a little—“the old Queen’s head and the new King’s oath? Or is it to be our own stamp and character, acquired in the rugged discipline of our colonial youth, and developed in the national usage of the British Empire?"...
Dr Drummond clapped alone; everybody else was listening.
“It is ours,” he told them, “in this greater half of the continent, to evolve a nobler ideal. The Americans from the beginning went in a spirit of revolt; the seed of disaffection was in every Puritan bosom. We from the beginning went in a spirit of amity, forgetting nothing, disavowing nothing, to plant the flag with our fortunes. We took our very Constitution, our very chart of national life, from England—her laws, her liberty, her equity were good enough for us. We have lived by them, some of us have died by them...and, thank God, we were long poor...
“And this Republic,” he went on hotly, “this Republic that menaces our national life with commercial extinction, what past has she that is comparable? The daughter who left the old stock to be the light woman among nations, welcoming all comers, mingling her pure blood, polluting her lofty ideals until it is hard indeed to recognize the features and the aims of her honourable youth...”
Allowance will be made for the intemperance of his figure. He believed himself, you see, at the bar for the life of a nation.
“...Let us not hesitate to announce ourselves for the Empire, to throw all we are and all we have into the balance for that great decision. The seers of political economy tell us that if the stars continue to be propitious, it is certain that a day will come which will usher in a union of the Anglo-Saxon nations of the world. As between England and the United States the predominant partner in that firm will be the one that brings Canada. So that the imperial movement of the hour may mean even more than the future of the motherland, may reach even farther than the boundaries of Great Britain...”
Again he paused, and his eye ranged over their listening faces. He had them all with him, his words were vivid in their minds; the truth of them stood about him like an atmosphere. Even Bingham looked at him without reproach. But he had done.