Montreal Daily Star, 23 April 1883, page 2
St. George’s Day is celebrated by Englishmen everywhere except in England. Abroad he naturally feels that it is greatly to his credit to be an Englishman, while at home it is a privilege which he enjoys among millions of near neighbours. He is not the less English because he is at home, but he does not feel under the same obligation to assert his nationality. Englishmen are fortunate in their patron saint, and as long as the Englishman’s pride of his nationality lasts, it is to be hoped it may continue to be associated with the chivalrous ideal we call St. George. It is of little consequence that St. George may only have been an Englishman by adoption, that he may have been an army contractor who made money by supplying the Roman legions with bad bacon, or even as some people are unkind enough to suggest that he never existed at all. Englishmen do not swear by George of Cappadocia, but by St. George, the patron saint of Merrie England, a character endowed by themselves with all the virtues of a brave, chivalrous Christian gentleman. The St. George whose feast we celebrate is to most of us but the incarnation of what an Englishman ought to be, and there is no reason why the descendants of the men who rallied to the cry of “God for Harry! England! And St. George!” should not rally round the standard of St. George to-day. Only a tradition, perhaps, but a tradition of honor, courage and patriotism, and long may it live. The keeping of the feast need offend no national susceptibilities, for the Englishman who respects the saintly ideal will only draw his sword against dragons and other malevolent monsters against the spirit of evil in whatever form it is found. The rose worn to-day is not an offensive protest against everything and everybody un-English; it is only a pardonable vanity.
This is the patriot’s boast, where’er he roam
His first, best country ever is- at home.
However, no apology or explanation is needed for wearing the rose; the average Englishman will wear it, simply because he is English and a very good reason.