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The Imperial Canadian

The Imperial Canadian

Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 362
  • Book Info
    The Imperial Canadian
    Book Description:

    Claude Bissell has followed his award-winning book,The Young Vincent Massey, with another superbly written volume that explores the attitudes, prejudices, commitments, and passions that shaped Massey's life

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3204-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Illustrations
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. CHAPTER ONE The Anglophile
    (pp. 3-33)

    On 31 October 1935, Vincent Massey was appointed Canadian high commissioner to London. It was an office to which he had aspired and for which he felt himself eminently fitted. At 48, he could look back on twenty years of public service. As an undergraduate at the University of Toronto he had conceived of a student building that was to be an informal centre for education in the arts and politics, and he had helped to design Hart House, the building that embodied his ideas; and after two years at Balliol, Oxford, and a second degree, he had had an...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Canada Calling
    (pp. 34-71)

    In 1935, when Vincent Massey became the Canadian high commissioner in London, it was the senior position in the expanding system of representation abroad. The other foreign legations — Washington, Paris, Tokyo — were recent establishments, but the high commissionership had a long history. The first high commissioner, Sir Alexander Gait, had been appointed in 1880, and Vincent Massey was the seventh in succession. Its origins in the Victorian era, however, meant that it still carried over some restricting associations. The high commissioner could be thought of by continuing imperialists as a Canadian emissary sent to the seat of Empire to plead...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Appeaser
    (pp. 72-106)

    During his presidency of the National Liberal Federation from 1932 to 1935, Vincent Massey had, at times, essayed a political role. His emphasis had been on domestic problems, particularly on methods of curing unemployment and arresting economic depression. Mackenzie King had resented these incursions, particularly since Massey had moved perilously close to the views of the new radical party, the CCF. But firmly established in power in the election of October 1935, his moderate views handsomely vindicated by the electorate, King could forget Massey’s lapses into insurgency. Massey was, however, contemplating another bold departure. The position of high commissioner in...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Masseys Go to War
    (pp. 107-160)

    Vincent and Alice Massey were in London throughout the entire war. Vincent was indignant when, during a period of heavy bombing, a story appeared in the Canadian press that the Masseys had left the city to take up residence in a country house. He cabled immediately to Maude Grant: ‘Please cable collect when and where did press report appear of our having taken country home which is not true.’¹ He and Alice spent week-ends and occasional holiday breaks at Garnons, the convalescent hospital for Canadian officers near Hereford that they had founded, which was within two hours' drive from London,...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE The Return to Canada
    (pp. 161-194)

    On 7 May, 1945, at one of their last meetings, the high commissioners were informed that the ‘German High Command had signed the Instruments of Surrender at 2.41 a.m. and that the surrender would take effect at one minute past midnight on May 8.’ The Masseys celebrated VE day in a quiet, domestic manner. Alison joined them for dinner; they listened to the King’s speech, and then Vincent, Hart, and Alison sallied forth to see the town — first to Buckingham Palace where an immense crowd waited for the King and Queen to make an appearance, then down the Mall to...

  10. CHAPTER SIX The Royal Commission
    (pp. 195-236)

    On 6 January 1949, shortly after his return from England, Massey was asked to go to Ottawa to see the prime minister. St Laurent made the formal request that he ‘take the chairmanship of a Royal Commission, the relation of Government to the cultural field, coordination of existing institutions, radio, television, UNESCO.’¹ Massey did not respond immediately in a positive way, despite the fact that for some time he had suspected that such a request would be made and realized that it well might be the national opportunity for which he longed. But he sensed a dry reserve in St...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Governor-General
    (pp. 237-283)

    To Canadians who still clung to the old imperial ties — their numbers reduced but their passionate convictions undiminished — Vincent Massey had failed to live up to his initial promise. By accepting the appointment of first minister to the United States, he had endangered imperial unity. Henceforth in Washington there would be a second, and potentially disruptive, spokesman for the Empire. His acceptance of the appointment of governor-general, the first native Canadian to occupy this august post, was a fundamental violation of the faith. The office had become inseparable from the imperial tradition, and even sturdy autonomists might have confessed to...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Patriae profuit
    (pp. 284-314)

    When Vincent Massey’s term as governor-general came to an end in 1959, he was seventy-two years old. The years had dealt kindly with him. The face was a little more gaunt, the eyes less penetrating, the carriage not as erect; the voice was still a fine instrument, low-pitched and resonant. Had he chosen the stage, he would now have been in the prime of his profession, playing elderly men of a reflective and didactic temperament. He remained spare and active. A love of food constantly sharpened by dining in high places had not added an ounce of weight, and he...

  13. A Note on Sources
    (pp. 315-316)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 317-346)
  15. Genealogies
    (pp. 347-348)
  16. Index
    (pp. 349-361)