Our Living Tradition

Our Living Tradition: First Series

Edited by Claude T. Bissell
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1957
Pages: 150
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt15jjbm3
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  • Book Info
    Our Living Tradition
    Book Description:

    In this book, seven distinguished scholars and writers discuss seven leading figures in the history of Canadian letters and public affairs.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3202-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. vii-ix)
    CLAUDE T. BISSELL

    It is a common prejudice that it is neither wise nor profitable to print public addresses in book form. This is a prejudice that is particularly strong in Canada, possibly because, as a people, we subject ourselves to public addresses on a great variety of social occasions and have as a result developed a cynical immunity to the formal spoken word. The speech and the lecture, we believe, have ceremonial value, but they are not likely to survive the event that prompted them. And yet I think there need exist no cleavage between the spoken and the written forms of...

  4. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. x-2)
  5. EDWARD BLAKE
    (pp. 3-28)
    FRANK H. UNDERHILL

    What makes an effective politician? During the summer of 1956 the B.B.C. ran a series of talks entitled “Letters to Beginners,” “Letter to a Young Scientist,” “Letter to a Young Painter,” “Letter to a Young Musician,” etc. Each so-called letter was written by an elder in the profession, and contained his advice to a young man beginning his career in the same field. Included in the series was a “Letter to a Young Politician,” by Christopher Hollis, well-known writer on political themes and Conservative member of the British parliament.

    Don’t go into politics [said Mr. Hollis] or at least do...

  6. GOLDWIN SMITH
    (pp. 29-47)
    MALCOLM ROSS

    Why have our Canadian historians, preoccupied as they have been with the Confederation years and the early growth of our nationhood, dealt with Goldwin Smith mainly in asides, made of him a figure of the periphery, a footnote to our story? It is true he called himself, signed himself, thought of himself as “The Bystander.” And hewasa man apart. Reared in that proud home of lost causes overseas, he fought over here for causes which from the start had no chance of winning. None of his pet constitutional ideas—the abolition of the Senate, the Governor-Generalship, and the...

  7. SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD
    (pp. 48-62)
    D. G. CREIGHTON

    Everyone knows the traditional picture of Sir John Macdonald. It is perhaps the most remarkable achievement of that remarkable creation, the Liberal interpretation of Canadian history. Easy-going, convivial, bibulous, none too scrupulous, Macdonald is presented as the man who, above all others in Canadian politics, made himself master of the dubious arts of political expediency. In his own day, of course, this severe judgment took on a deeper note of moral reprobation. At evening prayers in Liberal households during the 1880’s, his dread unuttered name was unquestionably linked with those of Satan’s principal associate fallen angels. At tea-time, when Grit...

  8. ARCHIBALD LAMPMAN
    (pp. 63-88)
    MUNRO BEATTIE

    “The night of February 9, 1899 was cold and still in Ottawa. Snow fell steadily and heavily. In a house at the corner of Bay and Slater Streets, within a few minutes’ walk of Parliament Hill, a clerk in the Post Office Department was dying at the age of thirty-seven. His death at one o'clock in the morning of the 10th is, I believe, the most grievous loss our poetry has ever sustained.”

    So wrote E. K. Brown some years ago (Saturday Night,February 8, 1949). His high estimate of Archibald Lampman seems to me indisputable, but I should place...

  9. SIR WILFRID LAURIER
    (pp. 89-104)
    MASON WADE

    The purpose of this essay is to assess, within a limited scope, Laurier’s role in the integration of Canada’s French and British traditions, leaving to some future biographer the weighing of what John W. Dafoe called Laurier’s “affinities with Machiavelli as well as with Sir Galahad” (Laurier[Toronto, 1922], p. 15). My thesis is that Laurier kept all his life the pledge which he made at the age of 23, speaking in 1864 to the Undergraduates’ Society of the McGill Faculty of Law: “I pledge my honour that I will give the whole of my life to the cause of...

  10. FREDERICK PHILIP GROVE
    (pp. 105-127)
    WILFRID EGGLESTON

    One morning in December 1912, the deputy minister of education at Winnipeg found a stranger waiting to see him. The stranger was dressed in overalls, and he apologized for it, but the deputy minister said that he had in years gone by done manual labour himself, and overalls held no terror for him. The visitor, who was about forty years old, introduced himself as F. P. Grove. He was, he said, a European, with about twenty years' residence in North America. For a long time he had lived the life of a nomadic farm hand, working the harvest fields from...

  11. STEPHEN LEACOCK
    (pp. 128-149)
    ROBERTSON DAVIES

    The labours which I have undertaken in the preparation of this lecture must be described as prodigious. There is no other fitting word. There will be many of you who will remember that passage in the works of Stephen Leacock in which he describes a man in the process of preparing a lecture: for the greater part of one whole winter the approaching lecture obsesses him; night after night he shuts himself up in his study, and if anyone calls, his wife explains that the professor is busy preparing his paper. I beg you to take note that this man...