Letters to Limbo

Letters to Limbo

ROBERT LAIRD BORDEN
EDITED BY HENRY BORDEN
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1971
Pages: 310
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt15jvxvz
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  • Book Info
    Letters to Limbo
    Book Description:

    A collection of Sir Robert Borden's letters that reveal some of his inner thoughts and strongest beliefs, giving an insight into the man and his times.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3224-0
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. v-viii)
    HENRY BORDEN

    One hundred and seventeen years ago – on June 26, 1854 – Robert Laird Borden, Prime Minister of Canada from 1911 to 1920, was born in the village of Grand Pré, Nova Scotia. He left school at the age of 14. Subsequently, after a period of teaching and study, he entered into ‘articles’ with a firm of lawyers in Halifax and in due course was admitted to the practice of law in his native province. In 1896 he was elected to the House of Commons as one of the representatives from Halifax and in 1901 was selected as leader of the Liberal-Conservative...

  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Preface
    (pp. 1-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-3)

    Sir Robert’s ‘Letters to Limbo’ were started by him in 1933 and in that calendar year he wrote twenty. In the period 1934 to May of 1937 he added fifty-five, making a total of seventy-five of such letters covering a wide variety of subjects.

    Four of these letters have been omitted from this volume – one because it was written not long before his death in 1937 and was only in rough draft form and three because the editor feels it would have been Sir Robert’s wish not to include them as they contain nothing of historical or public interest.

    The...

  6. 1933

    • March 6, 1933 THE LATE JOHN S. EWART
      (pp. 4-9)

      During the past ten years I have been in very close association with the late John S. Ewart; and on many occasions he has lavished upon me praise which probably was not wholly deserved but which, nevertheless, I greatly appreciated, as is the custom with men of advanced years. Oliver Wendell Holmes said that while he was a young man he was content to have his praise in tea-spoonfuls, in middle life in table-spoonfuls but in old age he was content with nothing less than ladle-fuls.

      However, for several years my relations with Ewart were by no means cordial. During...

    • March 6, 1933 LORD ROSEBERY BY THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
      (pp. 9-11)

      Recently I have read with very great interest Lord Crewe’sLife of Lord Rosebery[John Murray (Publishers) Limited]; and I have laid aside the book with the deepest admiration for the remarkable intellectual brilliancy, both in oratory and letters, which distinguished that remarkable man. My wonder is that thus equipped, and possessing also the immense advantages of great wealth and high position and inspired, for the most part, with high ideals, he bequeathed to his country and to the world so little of great achievement or of inspiring tradition. Elsewhere I have spoken of him as a man of brilliant...

    • March 7, 1933 UNION GOVERNMENT FOR CANADA?
      (pp. 11-12)

      Doubtless you are receiving considerable consignments of nonsense respecting the practicability and advantages of Union government in Canada.

      The Conservatives, who can retain power for more than two years, are not disposed to deprive themselves of that advantage, although in some respects it is not particularly pleasurable.

      The Liberals who eagerly anticipate a general election, which they imagine would advance them to power with a fine majority, are equally indisposed to welcome the proposal. But, in truth, a general election might result in no majority for either party, with the CCF holding the balance of power. In that case, conditions...

    • March 18, 1933 SUNSETS – IN OTTAWA AND ELSEWHERE – DAWN
      (pp. 12-14)

      February and March exchanged roles this year. Today was a typical winter scene with radiant landscape, brilliant sunshine and glorious countryside.

      Ottawa sunsets are frequently of exceptional beauty; and one of them, noted in my diary last winter, is still vivid in my memory. The western horizon was a great glowing furnace of molten gold from which radiated multi-coloured streamers of a hundred different hues; but always the central golden radiance dominated the scene.

      Another sunset of some years ago I can still see as its picturesque beauty arrested my attention when I emerged one winter evening from my office...

    • March 28, 1933 A GRIEVANCE (DISAPPOINTMENT IF IT SHOULD BE REMEDIED) - TABLE OF PRECEDENCE
      (pp. 15-20)

      So far as I am aware I am the only subscriber to your valuable and interesting journal. Thus, I feel at liberty to ask the hospitality of your columns even in respect of so trivial a matter as that which I now bring to your attention.

      A few years after my retirement from public life I established for myself a self-denying ordinance which debarred me from taking part in further partisan activities.

      For nearly three years I was chief of a Union government in which strong Liberals and Conservatives united their efforts for the service of their country in a...

    • April 11, 1933 BIRDS AT GLENSMERE AND AT ECHO BEACH
      (pp. 20-28)

      About four years ago we erected a bird-house with twenty-four apartments designed as an abode for purple martens which, however, have never seen fit to occupy it. But tree swallows have occasionally made their home therein. We very seldom saw them, as the male seems to bring food to the sitting female only twice a day – about ten or eleven in the morning and about five in the afternoon. We never saw the young birds, as by some mysterious method they always succeeded in departing without coming under our observation. In this respect their practice is in exact antithesis to...

    • April 25, 1933 ACQUISITION OF GLENSMERE – OTTAWA
      (pp. 28-31)

      On two occasions I have purchased land, employed an architect and completed all the preparations for building a house.

      On the first occasion, during the autumn of 1892 or the beginning of 1893, we had purchased a lot and employed an American architect who came to Halifax to prepare the necessary plans. The arrangements were about completed when we were given an opportunity of purchasing a property called ‘Pinehurst’ near the head of the northwest Arm. There were four acres of land and a very pretty, one might say ‘bijou’, house upon which we expended a considerable amount of money...

    • May 12, 1933 SCHOOL-GIRLS ON TRAIN – AESOP’S FABLE
      (pp. 31-32)

      Just a month ago today I was returning to Ottawa, having attended a board meeting of The Crown Life Insurance Company in Toronto. A number of girls, returning for the Easter vacation from some Toronto school, gave an extraordinary exhibition of which apparently they were rather proud. In manner they were loud, noisy and blatant. They took possession of the smoking-room and rent the air with instrument and voice, producing a vile cacophony to the vast disturbance and indignation of the other passengers. In truth they did little credit to their school or their training. Incidentally they brought stools from...

    • May 28, 1933 JOURNEY BY AEROPLANE
      (pp. 32-34)

      I first saw a flying-machine in the air near Montreal when Count de Lesseps gave an exhibition. Some twenty years later he was to find his grave on or near the rockbound coast of Labrador or northern Quebec.

      After the first reaction it seemed to me perfectly natural that the machine should be skimming through the air; and I was quite devoid of that feeling of continued surprise which I had anticipated.

      During the war I never was in the air, although it was the regular means of communication for my colleague Bonar Law who frequently flew between London and...

    • June 10, 1933 SUNRISE
      (pp. 34-34)

      One sleeping in the open and waking at dawn or earlier sometimes sees glorious visions of the sunrise. First there is the faintest radiance in the east asrododaktulos eos engeneiabegins to open the portals of the dawn. If there are clouds above the eastern horizon they are flooded with an indescribably beautiful rose tint which gradually deepens into the full splendour of the sunshine bursting into a June morning.

      Not long ago I saw island cloud continents in the eastern heavens; and just at sunrise they were touched with a radiance that had not yet reached the earth....

    • June 20, 1933 REMINISCENCES OF HOUSEHOLD PETS
      (pp. 34-37)

      The recent advent of a half-starved cat, which has evidently been thrown upon its own resources by some householder on vacation and which now comes regularly to entreat a draught of milk, reminds me of our days at Pinehurst when Lady Jane the cat and Taffy the St Bernard were with us.

      Lady Jane was a most interesting and intelligent animal. She did not at all care for the kitchen which she seldom visited except for food or when her family of kittens required direct superintendence. She would follow us like a dog in our walks around our little place...

    • July 6, 1933 SEVENTY - NINTH BIRTHDAY
      (pp. 37-38)

      As one grows older one learns more and more to marvel at the glories and wonders of nature in her myriad manifestations. One night in June after a heavy thunder-storm had rolled away to the south, I watched, after I had retired to my outdoor bed, a scene which continued for nearly an hour. The storm was so distant that one could not hear the roll of the thunder; but above the southern horizon was an almost constant lambent radiance through which played, practically unceasingly, shafts and tongues of intensely white flame followed from time to time by the forked...

    • August 23, 1933 DEFEAT OF HARRINGTON GOVERNMENT IN NOVA SCOTIA - REMINISCENCES OF HALIFAX
      (pp. 39-42)

      Although I am secluded from the activities of public life and although my interest in party success or disaster has been diminished to the vanishing point since my leadership of the Union government, yet I felt grieved and disappointed at the defeat of the Harrington government in Nova Scotia yesterday.

      My chief experience with Gordon Harrington was during the war. Physically unfit to go to the Front, he found his metier in the organization of the Canadian Overseas Ministry. Both Sir George Perley and Sir Edward Kemp formed a high opinion of Harrington's character, ability and devotion to duty. He...

    • September 7, 1933 A GRAVE EXPERIENCE
      (pp. 42-43)

      From August first to fourteenth, Henry and Jean Borden, Philip Bill and I spent a most enjoyable two weeks at Echo Beach. While there I bathed in Home Lake and enjoyed a sun-bath every morning.

      On my return I seemed in excellent form; but apparently I engaged too strenuously in many activities. As a result I had an extraordinary and rather grave experience on August 24. About 11.30 am, as I was sitting in my library, my right arm became numb and useless and I rapidly grew very dizzy. With great difficulty I tottered to my bedroom and after undressing...

    • September 20, 1933 BRITISH COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS CONFERENCE – TORONTO
      (pp. 43-50)

      I returned a few days ago from the British Commonwealth Relations Conference, which opened in Toronto on September 11, at which I delivered the address of welcome and remained thereafter until September 14.

      There was a strong delegation from every dominion (except the Irish Free State) and from India. The most outstanding figures from abroad were Viscount Cecil of Chelwood and Sir Herbert Samuel from Great Britain; Honourable W. Downie Stewart from New Zealand; Senator Malan from South Africa; Professor Charteris from Australia; and Diwan Bahadur Ramaswami Mudaliar from India.

      During my visit there were several interesting and useful speeches...

    • September 28, 1933 LORD MACMILLAN - OTTAWA CANADIAN CLUB - CONTRAST WITH SIR HERBERT SAMUEL
      (pp. 50-55)

      Today I listened to a really fine address by Lord Macmillan6to the Canadian Club of Ottawa. I was very happily situated on the right of Lord Macmillan, with Sir Charles Addis at my right.

      During the course of the luncheon Macmillan told me some very amusing incidents of our profession in Scotland.

      In the early part of his speech he made reference to economic

      Then chairman of the Canadian Royal Commission on Banking.

      conditions and declared that our highest hope lies in the fact that our present difficulties have arisen not from some outside and controlling force but from...

    • October 28, 1933 ARRIVAL OF WINTER – DINNER AT THE RIDEAU CLUB (OTTAWA)
      (pp. 55-58)

      On October 24, winter paid us what I hope will be a flying visit. January weather arrived and still continues; but we hope for a short intermission before she makes her abode with us for the next four or five months.

      The thermometer descended to 14; nearly a foot of snow fell; and for the first time in my life I saw brilliant autumn leaves drifting down upon a carpet of newly-fallen snow.

      The winter scene has continued until today; and we are promised colder weather tonight.

      It appears that the vagaries of our climate during the present year are...

    • December 6, 1933 APPRECIATION OF SIR ARTHUR CURRIE
      (pp. 58-66)

      The untimely death of Sir Arthur Gurrie on the morning of November 30, has stirred all Canada with emotion. He made a wonderful fight for life.

      My tribute to him was expressed in these few but very sincere words:

      In Sir Arthur Currie has passed a great Canadian whose service to Canada and to the Empire was conspicuous and will never be forgotten. As a soldier he won high distinction during the war not for himself alone but also for the Canadian Corps under his command. I was brought into very intimate touch with him during the agony of that...

    • December 8, 1933 ESTIMATE OF SIR GEORGE FOSTER
      (pp. 66-77)

      I have recently read with great interest the rather meagreMemoirs of Sir George Fosterby Professor W. Stewart Wallace. In many respects the book is useful and instructive, especially in the incidents of Foster’s successful struggle to acquire an education, in which he displayed the great qualities which afterwards raised him to the forefront of public life.

      Foster was endowed with brilliant parts, high ideals, untiring ambition, fierce energy and unflagging industry. He was handicapped by lack of tact and sound judgment, and by various inconsistencies and obsessions which probably debarred him from attaining the Premiership to which his...

  7. 1934

    • January 24, 1934 LETTERS OF LORD OXFORD TO A FRIEND, 1915–1922
      (pp. 77-79)

      I have finished reading H.H.A.Letters of Lord Oxford to a Friend,1915–1922. The book contains some interesting matter but on the whole it is rather thin, to use a common phrase.

      Mr Asquith’s relation to his correspondent seems to have been extremely intimate, although wholly platonic; and evidently a very close affection developed between them. Apparently her intellectual qualities appealed to Asquith and their tastes in art and literature were very similar. The intimacy seemingly was known to Lady Oxford who apparently approved of it. Probably Lord Oxford found a welcome relief in his association with a comparatively...

    • January 27, 1934 OPENING OF A PUBLIC LIBRARY AND A CANADIAN CLUB LUNCHEON
      (pp. 79-81)

      Recently I have had the privilege of attending two functions, the incidents of which I deem worthy of recording. First, the opening of the branch library on Rideau Street. The building, quite spacious, is well designed for a bilingual library, as in this part of the city the mother tongue of a considerable proportion of the population is French.

      The proceedings were of a formal character; and Colonel Marriott, who presided after Mrs Sears had said a few words, called upon me to make an introductory speech and to declare the library open. I discharged this duty with appropriate brevity...

    • February 27, 1934 WINTER READING
      (pp. 81-82)

      During the winter, I have been re-reading Dickens and Scott with much enjoyment.Nicholas NicklebyandOur Mutual Friend,I found delightful, as well asGuy Marinering, The Monastery, The Abbott, The Legend of Montrose,andAnne of Gierstein.Also, I readSir Launcelot Greaves,Smollett’s rather fantastic and strained tale.

      Every night after retiring, I read and re-read Shakespeare’s plays, chiefly,King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, As You Like It,andMidsummer Night’s Dream.

      The snowfall has been excessive, the streets being almost impassable. It is difficult to get sufficient exercise,...

    • March 30, 1934 INACCURACY OF THE PRESS
      (pp. 82-88)

      Among the very numerous instances in which I have observed absolute inaccuracy in press reports of incidents within my personal knowledge, I note the following.

      With considerable reluctance, I finally yielded to the strong, indeed insistent, urging of Sir George Perley and other Conservative friends to attend the Winnipeg convention during October, 1927. The outcome of that convention was the selection of Mr R.B. Bennett as Conservative leader. On the first day, I was called upon to speak; and I append a copy of my remarks on that occasion. I was not present on the afternoon of the second day,...

    • April 6, 1934 JOHN MACGILLIVRAY – PORTRAIT PAINTER
      (pp. 88-89)

      During the latter part of January I began sitting for my portrait to John MacGillivray, [now deceased] son of my old friend, Dugald MacGillivray of Halifax. The portrait is to be presented to Acadia University; and the donor, as I learn, is Senator W.H. Dennis of Halifax.

      John MacGillivray has required a very great number of sittings; but he has made good progress and I am confident that the portrait will be a distinctive success. John is a young man of interesting personality, of highly nervous temperament, well-read in English literature, equipped with extremely strong opinions and confident views, and...

    • April 19, 1934 VISIT TO ATLANTIC CITY – DINNER IN OTTAWA TO THE CHAIRMAN OF BARCLAYS BANK LIMITED
      (pp. 89-90)

      Last winter we remained in Ottawa without going south. This year we left for Atlantic City on March 15, and returned April 4.

      During March, Atlantic City greeted us with two snow-bliz-zards; and twice during our visit the snow-plough was required to clear the boardwalk.

      Easter arrived April I; and, as the weather had become some what milder, the crowds at Atlantic City exceeded anything I had ever known. The press reported five hundred thousand people on Easter Sunday; but this, I think, was a very great exaggeration. However, the boardwalk, on that day, was a mass of slowly moving...

    • May 15, 1934 INTERVIEW WITH THE PRIME MINISTER
      (pp. 90-93)

      Yesterday I had an extremely interesting interview with the Prime Minister in which our conversation ranged over a great diversity of questions. He seemed in excellent form and expressed himself with wonderful lucidity and vigour.

      In the first place I spoke to him with regard to Mr Goodenough's desire to assist in a complete readjustment of Canada's financial affairs, as set forth to me during his recent visit. Mr Goodenough thought that the proposal might be made so broad as to offer some solution of our railway problems. Mr Bennett expressed great admiration for Mr Goodenough’s character and ability and...

    • June 11, 1934 MOSQUITO PEST – SLEEPING OUTDOORS; PARLIAMENTARY PRESS GALLERY ANNUAL DINNER
      (pp. 93-96)

      The ice did not disappear from our south glen until about the middle of May. After a short interval the ice was succeeded by mosquitoes which have been an intolerable pest during the past three weeks. Appended hereto are copies of letters which I wrote to the Mayor of Ottawa on June 8, 1933, and on May 31, 1934.

      Sleeping out of doors, I am continually thrilled with the extraordinary beauty of the sky in the early morning.

      Again and again have I observed the beautiful bit of cloudl and floating below the morning star and above the dawn. Then...

    • June 27, 1934 EIGHTIETH BIRTHDAY
      (pp. 96-109)

      Yesterday (June 26) I completed my eightieth year; and my birthday anniversary was greeted with a flood of messages by cable, telegram, telephone and personal calls.

      I received messages from Right Honourable J. Ramsay Mac-Donald, Prime Minister of Great Britain, on behalf of himself and his colleagues of the cabinet, from the Governor-General, from David Lloyd George, from Lord and Lady Willingdon, from the Prime Minister of Canada, from F.C. Goodenough and from scores of Canadians in all walks of life. The appreciation expressed in many of these messages touched me greatly. Appended are copies of some of the messages,...

    • June 29, 1934 ONTARIO ELECTIONS – 1934
      (pp. 109-113)

      Doubtless with great surprise you have observed the results of the Ontario elections, held on June 19.

      All the conditions tended to the overthrow of the Henry government; yet it was thought that ‘Old Man Ontario’ would still prefer decency and security to froth and lack of policy. However, Mr Henry and his colleagues were not very skillful in their defence; and the notorious Mitchell Hepburn literally ‘bellowed’ himself into power.

      Canadians, whether Liberals or Conservatives, have been justly proud of two great Ontario Liberal leaders, Edward Blake and Oliver Mowat. From these to Mitchell Hepburn is a terrible descent....

    • July 11, 1934 A DRYAD IN NANAIMO – OLLA PODRIDA
      (pp. 114-145)

      Recently my attention has been directed to a volume of poemsA Dryad in Nanaimo,by Audrey Alexandra Brown. I took the volume with me while journeying to Montreal two days ago and was delighted with all that I read, especially the poem that bears the name of the volume, and above all the poem,Laodamia.

      I readLaodamiaagain that night; and once more on the following day; and I am still under the spell of its sheer beauty of thought and expression.

      Attached hereto is an appreciation of the poems by my good friend and former colleague, Martin...

    • August 2, 1934 A MEMOIR – TOM BLACKLOCK
      (pp. 145-146)

      Today, I heard the sad tidings that a dear friend whom I had known for many years had passed beyond the veil.

      I first met Tom Blacklock in 1907, while engaged in a political tour of the prairie provinces. At Weyburn I asked him to give me his estimate of the outlook of immigrants from United States who had settled in large numbers around that district. ‘Have they a Canadian spirit? Do they regard themselves as true Canadian citizens? Are they interested in our public affairs?’ Tom Blacklock’s reply was characteristic. ‘Among these men who have been in Canada not...

    • August 13, 1934 INTERVIEW WITH PRIME MINISTER – BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN UNITED STATES
      (pp. 146-147)

      Sir, Today I had an interesting interview of half an hour with the Prime Minister; and afterwards I lunched with him. He was in good spirits but rather shrank from his proposed visit to Geneva, as he believes that little or nothing will be accomplished. Evidently he is very weary and I am convinced of his strong desire to be rid of his political responsibilities. For this he might welcome defeat. But in that case, it might be difficult to retire with honour from a position of such transcendent importance.

      During the past four years he has devoted himself with...

    • September 17, 1934 OVERSEAS CHAPLAINS – REV. R.H. STEACY AND OTHERS
      (pp. 147-148)

      Yesterday while attending service at All Saints’ Church, Mr Hepburn [Canon Hepburn] announced that Rev R. H. Steacy (rector of one of the Anglican churches in this city) was to preach the sermon that evening. After looking over the new Parish Hall which has made an important addition to the church and the construction of which has been carried out most efficiently, I had an opportunity of speaking for a moment to Mr Hepburn and I expressed to him in brief but cogent terms my estimate of Mr Steacy.

      Steacy went overseas as chaplain, and eventually attained the rank of...

    • September 22, 1934 THE OTTAWA CITIZEN – EDITORIAL ‘IN DEFENCE OF PARLIAMENT’ – NEGOTIATIONS WITH SIR WILFRID LAURIER RE UNION GOVERNMENT
      (pp. 149-153)

      On occasion there is in theOttawa Citizenan excellent editorial. The proprietors, Wilson and Harry Southam, are splendid citizens and have been constant in their endeavour to serve the right as they see it. The chief editor, Charles A. Bowman, is an idealist, although somewhat wrong-headed in his idealism. Within the past year, he told me that he felt himself handicapped by a persistent urge to set things right in the world and to intervene for that purpose.

      But the usefulness of this newspaper is marred by a constant tendency to relate its endeavour to three main considerations. First,...

    • October 17, 1934 VISIT OF MARQUIS OF LOTHIAN TO OTTAWA
      (pp. 153-154)

      Today I had a long conversation with an old friend, Philip Kerr, (now Marquis of Lothian) whom I knew intimately during the War when he wasFidus Achatesto Lloyd George both in the Imperial War Cabinet and at the Paris Peace Conference.

      He told me that Lloyd George expects eventually to join the Union government. At present, he is in his seventy-second year and should have five years more of active participation in public affairs.

      L. G. would have been taken into the Union government at its inception but for an operation which he had to undergo at that...

    • October 18, 1934 ROSS – HEPBURN (HYDRO COMMISSION)
      (pp. 155-156)

      In conditions of extreme public unrest, singular creatures come to the surface. Mitchell Hepburn became Premier of Ontario a few months ago after a long tenure of office by the Conservative party. He has exposed and remedied some deficiencies of that government; but his antics are arousing both astonishment and concern throughout Ontario.

      His latest demonstration is an attack upon P.D. Ross, one of Ottawa’s most highly respected citizens, who, for eighteen years has given faithful and efficient service to the Ottawa Hydro Electric Commission. Ross gave also most useful service to the province of Ontario in a lengthy and...

    • November 28, 1934 EDITORIAL IN THE ST. THOMAS TIMES-JOURNAL; RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT OF 1911
      (pp. 156-158)

      I have been favoured with an issue of theSt. Thomas Times-Journalof November 22nd, in which reference is made to my recent address at the Annual General Meeting of Barclays Bank (Canada).

      While some portions of the editorial are passable, it is painfully apparent that the writer is profoundly ignorant of my attitude regarding protection and of the considerations upon which I opposed the Reciprocity agreement of 1911.

      In 1911, it was proposed that Canada should enter into an arrangement with United States to be consummated by legislation passed in each country. The result of that arrangement would have...

    • December 17, 1934 ADDRESS OF HON. W. D. HERRIDGE AT CANADIAN CLUB LUNCHEON
      (pp. 159-162)

      The day before yesterday I attended a luncheon of the Canadian Club at which Major W. D. Herridge, Canadian minister at Washington, was the guest of honour.

      Evidently he had given much thought to the preparation of his speech; and he expected to make a profound impression.

      The speech did impress me – but rather disagreeably. It was unnecessarily prolix; the speaker did not know how to use his voice and was sometimes almost inaudible (which occasionally was fortunate) ; there was too much rhetorical exhortation; there were too many high-flown phrases devised for effect; there was too much demagogic gesture;...

  8. 1935

    • January 18, 1935 RADIO ADDRESSES OF RT. HON. R.B. BENNETT
      (pp. 162-166)

      On January second, the Prime Minister, (Right Honourable R. B. Bennett) began a series of radio addresses. The tone of his speech that evening was unexpectedly socialistic. As in his campaign of 1930, he promised more than he can perform; e.g., to end unemployment. Neither he nor another can achieve that result. Unemployment has been with us from time immemorial and it will continue with us to the end.

      The series was continued by four further addresses before the opening of parliament and by a speech in Montreal to the Board of Trade.

      The speeches were couched in quite general...

    • January 20, 1935 BESTOWAL OF HONOURS IN CANADA
      (pp. 166-168)

      In 1917, there was great outcry respecting the bestowal of honours in Canada; and, not only in that year but, in the following year the question was raised in the House of Commons. The character of the debate and my attitude thereon are set forth in my memoirs. [Vol. 2, pp. 792-7]. At that time, I prepared a memorandum on the subject; but in the meantime my views have undergone a change. At present, I should be inclined to vote for the abolition of all titles in Canada. My friend, Perley, is strongly opposed to this; and in his attitude...

    • February 6, 1935 COMMENTS ON MEMORANDA SENT TO THE PRIME MINISTER
      (pp. 169-178)

      From time to time I have sent memoranda to the Prime Minister containing information that might be useful to him in connection with policies announced in his broadcast addresses, as well as in the throne speech at the opening of parliament.

      On the latest occasion Mr Bennett seemed surprised at the extent and variety of my reading; and he asked me how I managed to find time therefor. I observed that I had much fewer pre-occupations than those which daily thronged upon him.

      Herewith are copies of the memoranda which on that occasion I handed to the Prime Minister and...

    • April 24, 1935 REPUDIATION BY ONTARIO GOVERNMENT OF QUEBEC POWER CONTRACTS
      (pp. 178-201)

      During our absence in United States, the Ontario government, under the premiership of Mitchell Hepburn, repudiated by legislative enactment binding contracts of Ontario which the preceding government had entered into with four Quebec power companies. This action was based on the assumption that the contracts required Ontario to receive and pay for more power than could be used under present conditions. This consideration would have justified negotiation with the companies; but the stark repudiation which ensued was malevolent, stupid, maladroit, wholly indefensible and highly detrimental to the credit of Ontario and of Canada. In Great Britain and United States it...

    • April 29, 1935 DOMINION DRAMA FESTIVAL, 1935
      (pp. 201-203)

      The Dominion Drama Festival opened a week ago today and continued until the following Saturday (April 27). During that week I was present at twenty-two plays. In nearly every instance there was a decided advance over the average of two years ago. The Little Theatre movement has created wide and active interest throughout Canada; and it cannot fail to have a good influence.

      Mr Morley, who acted as regional adjudicator, told me that no less than one hundred and twelve plays had been performed in the various regional districts from Halifax to Vancouver. He spoke very highly of the standard...

    • May 13, 1937 DOMINION DRAMA FESTIVAL, 1937
      (pp. 204-205)

      In my recent letter I omitted to make any comment upon the Drama Festival which was held in Ottawa from April 26 to May I, both inclusive. We attended only on the twenty-sixth, twenty-eighth, thirtieth April and on May first.

      In the early part of the week I thought that the standard of performance had distinctly deteriorated; but towards the close of the week there was a vast improvement and some performances were given which compared favourably with anything in our experience of such festivals. Especially fine were the scenes fromDavid Copperfield,presented by the Loretto Players of Hamilton;...

    • May 17, 1935 OLIVAR ASSELIN–JOURNALIST
      (pp. 205-206)

      The late Charles J. Doherty, who for nine years was one of my colleagues, had singularly faulty judgment with regard to personality. He had a high opinion of Olivar Asselin’s ability and influence; and he strongly urged that we should take him to the Peace Conference at Paris as a member of the Canadian Delegation. A more unfortunate selection for that purpose could not be imagined. Morose and discontented, Asselin seemed to seek continually for some cause of complaint or criticism. From first to last during his attendance in Paris he never gave, so far as I am aware, one...

    • July 8, 1935 PRESIDENT CARLETON STANLEY
      (pp. 206-212)

      On June 25, I had a call from President Carleton Stanley of Dalhousie University. We had a most enjoyable evening and discussed many phases of modern civilization, including tendencies in education and in the development of political ideals.

      President Stanley is evidently a man of outstanding erudition.

      He spoke with much appreciation of two members of his staff; one, a German, deplores with great earnestness the perversion of the true spirit of the German people by Hitlerism: ‘you know we are not like that', said he to Stanley. The other professor of whom Stanley spoke highly is a young Englishman...

    • July 12, 1935 CANADIAN-AMERICAN CONFERENCE CANTON, N. Y.
      (pp. 212-226)

      A Canadian-American conference sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment under the direction of Dr James T. Shotwell [Professor of History, Columbia University] was held at St Lawrence University, Canton, New York, from June 17 to June 22, 1935, under the joint auspices of Queen’s University and St Lawrence University.

      I am a member of the Advisory Committee of the Project of Research on Canadian-American Relations, but in accepting this office I stipulated that I should not be called upon for any active work. Further, in correspondence with Dr Shotwell and Dean Corbett [Percy E. Corbett, Dean of Law] of McGill University,...

    • July 24, 1935 VISIT TO MILL OF KINTAIL NEAR ALMONTE, ONTARIO
      (pp. 226-228)

      Last week-end (July 20–22) we spent with the Tait McKenzie’s at Mill of Kintail. They have made a delightful summer home of the old structure; and they secured it just in time as it was being rapidly dismantled. At the front door entrance there is a drawbridge, crossing what seems to be a castle moat. Below this is the ground floor used for various purposes; and on this floor are the living rooms, the bedrooms and bathroom, the kitchen and pantries, as well as a small verandah overlooking the Indian river on which the mill is situated.

      Above is...

    • August 21, 1935 MARCHES ON OTTAWA AND OTHER MATTERS
      (pp. 228-235)

      August has brought such heat as has not been felt in Ottawa for many years. Under its influence I have given little thought to conditions at home or abroad. There have been many excursions and alarums by men who have deserted relief camps and undertaken marches to Ottawa with the obvious purpose of intimidating the government of the day. Unfortunately, it seems clear that these movements have been organized by shrewd leaders whose intention was not revealed to the young men whom they induced to join therein. Their various futile marches reveal no purpose except disorder and disregard for law....

    • September 9, 1935 BEGINNING OF THE 1935 FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN
      (pp. 235-236)

      The political leaders have gone into action. We listened last week to Mr Bennett’s broadcast which was very good, except that he struck too much the personal note and made too extended references to parties and party controversies. Almost immediately he is setting out for a tour of the western provinces where he will be followed by Mr King.

      On Friday, the sixth instant, Mr Lascelles [A.F. (Tommy) Lascelles – at that time secretary to the Governor-General] called to consult me on behalf of Lord Bessborough with regard to the proposal that the Prime Minister should return at the date of...

    • September 28, 1935 DEPARTURE OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL
      (pp. 236-238)

      The political leaders are now in full cry. No less than six parties have entered the field – Conservatives, Liberals, Re-constructionists, GGF’S, Social Credit and Labourites.

      The situation is more confused and more uncertain than at any time since confederation. There is absurd discrepancy in the estimates of the outcome. The anticipation of the Stevens' following [Reconstruction party led by Hon H.H. Stevens] ranges from 10 to 50 seats; he will have the largest group; the Conservatives will have the largest group; the Liberals will have the largest group; the Liberals will have a majority over all; Bennett is gaining ground;...

    • September 30, 1935 DEAN OF CANTERBURY AND SOCIAL CREDIT
      (pp. 238-239)

      The Very Reverend Hewlett Johnson, Dean of Canterbury, has recently paid a visit to Canada for the purpose of instructing the Canadian people in the mysteries of Social Credit. Beyond question the Dean would have done much better to remain at home and give wholehearted attention to the religious duties that ought to engage his time and his energies. His intrusion into an election campaign was not only stupid but offensive.

      At Ottawa his speech comprised a flood of eloquent generalities and airy nothings, coupled with absurd misstatements. At Toronto, he delivered himself of this gem: Bankers create money out...

    • October 19, 1935 FEDERAL ELECTION RESULT, 1935
      (pp. 239-242)

      Hitherto you have refrained from comment upon the result of the recent election in Canada; and thus I am disposed to set forth my own impressions.

      Six months ago the result was regarded as a foregone conclusion. This view was greatly modified by the remarkable, one might ‘whirlwind’, campaign which Mr Bennett carried on for about weeks before polling-day. His meetings were larger and seemed be characterized by more wholehearted enthusiasm than those addressed by Mr King. Although still under the shadow of a serious illness, Mr Bennett apparently surpassed his opponent in his activity in the tremendous energy of...

    • October 26, 1935 ON THE PASSING OF LORD CARSON AND RT. HON. ARTHUR HENDERSON
      (pp. 242-246)

      Since my last letter, two men have passed away in Great Britain with whom, during the War, I was in more or less close association.

      Lord Carson has been described so vividly and so often in current literature and his life has been so fully written that any portrayal by me would be superfluous. While in attendance at the Imperial War Cabinet and the Imperial War Conference in 1917 and 1918, met him many times. He was a picturesque and, in some aspects, a most attractive figure. His resolution was like granite, his courage unfailing and unfaltering. Notwithstanding his resolution...

    • October 28, 1935 APPOINTMENT OF JOHN BUGHAN AS GOVERNOR-GENERAL
      (pp. 246-257)

      Mr John Buchan has been elevated to the peerage and has taken the title of Lord Tweedsmuir. Before this honour had been conferred upon him, he had been designated as next Governor – General of Canada.

      On Saturday night at Quebec he will be sworn into office by the Chief Justice. The Prime Minister has kindly sent us invitations for all the functions at Quebec which are very numerous and which have been detailed with meticulous care ... Unfortunately we find ourselves unable to accept.

      The selection of John Buchan was something of a mystery. It was my intention to ask...

    • December 2, 1935 THE NEW FEDERAL CABINET – COMPARISON BETWEEN MR KING AND MR BENNETT
      (pp. 258-261)

      Several weeks ago Mackenzie King completed the formation of his cabinet; and, on the whole, he has done well, especially in passing over some of the old ‘war-horses’, and in selecting at least three young and active men for important positions.

      Mr C.D. Howe, Minister of Transport, I do not know personally; but he enjoys a fine reputation. On all sides I have heard good reports of his ability, his character and his outlook.

      The Hon. Mr Norman Rogers, who like Mr Howe enters the cabinet immediately after his entry into public life, is a young man of high ability...

    • January 22, 1936 ON THE DEATH OF KING GEORGE V
      (pp. 261-265)

      Less than a week ago, press despatches indicated that King George’s condition was becoming serious. He died shortly before midnight, Monday, January 20. Never, within my recollection, has there been so universal an expression of sorrow. Not only throughout the Empire but in all the nations and among all the peoples of the world the tidings of his passing have been received with profound emotion. Especially is this true of the United States where the President and his Cabinet, the House of Representatives and other official bodies have cancelled their functions and activities in honouring the memory of our King;...

    • February 17, 1936 LETTER TO KING EDWARD VIII
      (pp. 265-267)

      For your information I enclose copy of a letter which I addressed to King Edward vm on February 6. A full description of the incidents of his visit to Canada in 1919, to which this letter alludes, will be found in myMemoirs.34Today, in reply to my letter, I received the following telegram from the King:

      I remain, Sir, Yours faithfully, With our humble duty, my wife and I have the honour to convey to Your Majesty upon your accession our heartfelt wishes and our firm confidence that under Your wise guidance the unity of the Empire's nations and...

    • February 18, 1936 OPENING OF PARLIAMENT, 1936
      (pp. 267-267)

      Parliament opened on February 6th. Mr Bennett took a courageous stand in opposing the election of Mr Pierre Casgrain, although he did not press for a division. It is apparent that Casgrain proposed to make practically a clean sweep of all the employees of the House and to appoint in their stead officers selected from a horde of hungry Liberal applicants. The announcement of impending dismissals was sent out by Casgrain after he had been named but before he was elected Speaker. It seems clear that this unworthy programme was eliminated by the Prime Minister, or by the government, as...

    • April 4, 1936 HOLIDAY IN THE SOUTH
      (pp. 268-268)

      Today I returned from a six weeks’ holiday of which all, except one week, was spent at The Cloister Hotel, Sea Island, Georgia, a most delightful resort. The lawns, herbaceous borders, flowers, birds and the sunshine made our visit most enjoyable.

      On my way south, I was entertained by Hugh Bullock in New York at a luncheon. Besides myself, the guests numbered fifteen of whom all were prominent, either in business, finance or economics ... Hugh Bullock took a straw vote as to who would be the next President. Sixteen ballots were handed in with the following result:

      Dickinson 1...

    • May 5, 1936 LEAGUE OF NATIONS
      (pp. 269-270)

      Apparently the Italians have overrun Ethiopia. Emperor Haile Selassie has arrived at Djibouti and is said to be embarking on a British warship. All Italy is rapturously acclaiming victory; the Germans are delighted; the British government is disconcerted; and the British people are exasperated.

      As first Japan, then Germany and now Italy have flouted and defied the League of Nations; it is apparent that its usefulness has reached the vanishing point.

      In Great Britain there is a proposal that the League shall continue but under a Covenant that does not include punitive measures for disregard of its obligations.

      Lewd fellows...

    • June 27, 1936 INVITATION TO UNVEILING OF VIMY MEMORIAL – 82nd BIRTHDAY AND OTHER MATTERS
      (pp. 270-274)

      The accompanying letter from the Prime Minister and copies of my replies explain themselves. I had not the faintest idea of undertaking so great a journey and asked Dr Laidlaw to estimate my condition and to advise whether it would be prudent to accept. Subsequently, Dr Laidlaw advised that I might safely undertake the journey upon condition that immediately after the Vimy Ceremonial I should spend three weeks at a spa in order to correct a condition or tendency which he described.

      On June 6, I attended at the Experimental Farm the opening of the new Saunders’ Administration Building. The...

    • July 29, 1936 JOURNEY TO VIMY MEMORIAL
      (pp. 274-278)

      On July 9,1 learned from Ned Rhodes that his father (my old friend and former colleague, Hon. E.N. Rhodes) desired to see me before I left for England. So, on that day, I called upon him and of course found him greatly changed. His speech was in part unintelligible, although I understood a good deal of what he attempted to say. At times when he was at a loss for a word or could not utter it, a shrug of impatience and a quizzical smile were in evidence. However, I left him in strong hope that he would yet recover....

    • August 3, 1936 VISIT TO WAR GRAVES
      (pp. 278-280)

      To me, the visit to the war graves was much more solemn and impressive and moved me more deeply than the unveiling ceremony at Vimy.

      The Faubourg-d’Amiens cemetery at Arras brought back to me very vividly all the long-drawn agony of the war years. During 1915, in fifty-three hospitals throughout England and France I had visited wounded Canadians. One’s spirit was thrilled by their cheerfulness and heroism, but bruised by the realization of their suffering. As I passed through the long lines of hospital beds, every Canadian would raise himself as he saw me approaching and on his lips would...

    • August 28, 1936 SOJOURN IN ENGLAND
      (pp. 280-283)

      Upon my return to London, I attended a number of theatrical performances, many of which were excellent. I recall especially,Pride and Prejudice,at St James’s Theatre,Anthony and Anna,at the Whitehall,Whiteoaksat the Playhouse,Lilac Time,at the Coliseum,Spring Tideat the Duchess, The Russian Ballet at Covent Garden,Miss Smithat the Duke of York’s Theatre,As You Like It,at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park,The Two Bouquets,at the Ambassador’s andHeroes Don’t Care,at St Martin’s.

      Returning to my rooms at the Ritz, I was informed that the management had received...

    • September 24, 1936 ON READING DANGERFIELD’S STRANGE DEATH OF LIBERAL ENGLAND
      (pp. 283-286)

      On September 21,1 attended the Canadian Club luncheon at which Lord Thankerton³8was guest of honour. His address was not particularly impressive. I was interested to learn that he is a son of the famous Lord Watson before whom I had appeared before the Judicial Committee on two or three occasions.

      It is just twenty-five years ago since we overwhelmed the Laurier government and came into power. I had been leader of the Opposition since 1901, a longer period, I believe, than any previous occupant of that position had served. There had been many vicissitudes during the ten years of...

    • October 8, 1936 VISIT OF EARL OF LOTHIAN
      (pp. 286-287)

      On October 3, Philip Kerr (Earl of Lothian) came at 5.30 and for an hour and a half we talked over world affairs.

      He is certain that there will be an explosion in Europe and he earnestly hopes that it will be toward the East rather than towards the West.

      In his opinion, the only hope for world peace lies with the two great democracies, British Empire and the United States. If they could be united in an alliance, or even in understanding, he feels that peace could be maintained during the remainder of this century, as it was maintained...

    • October 19, 1936 ON WORLD AFFAIRS
      (pp. 287-288)

      Recently with very deep interest I have readThe Far Eastern Crisis,by Henry L. Stimson. The book covers a period of about eight months. The author is restrained and courteous in his references to Great Britain. He states the facts fairly as they occurred. There may have been conditions which he, perhaps, could not realize and which deterred Great Britain from taking a firmer stand. But, the record does not inspire respect for British statesmanship. It seems apparent that Sir John Simon is much more competent as lawyer and advocate than as statesman and Foreign Secretary.

      On October 12,...

    • November 30, 1936 NOVEMBER ACTIVITIES, 1936
      (pp. 288-304)

      During this month I attended many functions and spoke oftener than I anticipated or desired.

      On the ninth instant I presided at the annual dinner of the League of Nations Society in Canada. The Prime Minister, [Mr King] as guest-speaker, reviewed at some length the transactions and incidents at the recent meeting of the Assembly of the League; and he set forth a useful as well as an interesting estimate of conditions through which Europe is passing. In introducing the Prime Minister I thought it desirable and useful to express my personal view with respect to the past service and...

    • December 5, 1936 KING EDWARD VIII AND MRS SIMPSON
      (pp. 304-306)

      The nations of the British Commonwealth and its dependencies have passed through deep waters during the past two weeks; they are still passing; the end is not yet.

      For more than twenty years I have known King Edward. On the occasions of his visits to Canada during my premiership I came into intimate association with him, and I conceived for him not only sincere admiration but warm affection. Now I am disillusioned, shocked, amazed; and I cannot free myself from the abhorrent thought that, early in the year, when he requested parliament to make provision for his marriage, he had...

    • December 30, 1936 KING EDWARD VIII – ABDICATION
      (pp. 306-311)

      The crisis has finally passed in the abdication of King Edward VIII and in the accession of his brother, formerly Duke of York, as King George VI. This solution of what might have developed into a grave constitutional crisis has relieved the Canadian people, although it has greatly distressed them to realize that a young man who has served the Empire so finely and with such marked advantage should place above his solemn duty and the glory of his opportunity the vagary of his fantastic infatuation for a twice-divorced woman, a woman whose better feeling should have led her to...

  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 312-312)