Montreal Daily Star, 5 January 1911, page 8
A delightful French author, who writes under the name of Foemina has recently sent forth a book on the soul of the English people. She says many charming things about the Anglo-Saxon race and also points out the same defects in the national character. One of the most pronounced of these defects is the innate snobbishness that pervades all classes. As she put it: On voit les plus grands d’entre eux, par la pensee et la caractere, temoigner une deference excessive au rang, meme recemment conquis meme occupe par de mediocres individus. This excessive deference before persons of high rank is perhaps the defect in English character that strikes Canadians more than anything else. It is noticeable in those English persons who have made their home inCanadabut who still cling to old sentiments, old cringings. During the late elections inEnglandit was particularly to the fore and struck many thinking Canadians as a curious example of the survival of ancient modes of thought. Just as the house dog to-day goes round and round to make a bed on a cushion, showing his descent from dogs eons back who thus made their beds in the forest, so does an Englishman reverence the House of Lords, a feeling which has survived from ancient feudal days in Britain. To most Canadians the House of Lords is merely an upper house consisting of men who happen to be there by accident of birth. To many Englishmen, and Englishmen who have been inCanadafor many years, the House of Lords is something almost divine.
This innate snobbishness survives to a certain extent even in our democratic country, more especially where society looms large in the horizon. It is only necessary to go any function where vice-royalty, or in fact any titled persons are present to notice the almost servile attitude of our Canadian men and women. Titled Canadians are not thus treated for their fellow citizens recognize the fact that Mr Brown is still Mr Brown although he happens to be called Lord So-and-so. As a matter of fact Canadian titles are more worthy of respect because they are the outward and visible signs “something accomplished, something done,” while inherited titles are a mere accident of birth. As far as regards Vice-Royalty, it represents our King and should therefore be treated with all due respect. But due respect does not mean a cringing attitude and timidity that approaches very closely to the awe with which the Deity is regarded. The same applies to the titled persons who swim into our orb from time to time. They may be the most idle, profligate, worthless or mediocre persons, but give them a title and every knee is bent, every face wreathed in smiles. I weigh the man, not his title,” says an old author and it is a good rule to apply in our social relations. It is also a good rule to remember that we are self-respecting Canadians and worthy to stand before kings.