Globe, 7 December 1907, page 4


Our National Outfit

Address of Hon Geo W Ross at Montreal

Speaking to the Caledonian Society he shows that Canada has the quality of population and all other requirements for nation-building.


(Special Despatch to the Globe)

Montreal, Dec 6 – Hon Geo W Ross, ex-premier of Ontario, addressed the Caledonian Society of Montreal to-night on “Our National Outfit” at the Society’s club rooms.  His address was a masterpiece of eloquence and breadth, and revealed the most comprehensive grasp of the problems confronting Canada and the essentials of true national life. At the outset Mr Ross told of the influence Scottish men and Scottish character had on our national life.  From earliest times Scotchmen had done much to shape our destiny, and on the pages of our history the most famous names are those of the Scotch.  One of the essentials of a great nation’s structure is an elastic constitution.  We have that, and under our flag French and English, Catholic and Protestant, live and work harmoniously together.  We have within our borders descendants of four or five of the greatest nations of the world.  England has given her sturdy, stubborn sons; Scotland her strongest and best; Ireland, France and Germany all contribute their sons and daughters, and the whole forms a strong virile people.  We are beginning the 20th century with the same population as the United States began the 19th century.  “Will history repeat itself?” asked Mr Ross, and then in a burst of eloquence he stated that it was already doing so, and that our industries, our products of forest and farm, and our best national life were that of a great nation.  We have spent 114 millions on canals and 255 millions on our railroads, “and all this was spent,” declared Mr Ross, “at a time when we were young, but our fathers had faith in this Canada of ours.  We must give our best attention to technical education,” declared the speaker, “for it is by means of this that Germany has forged to the front of late years.  With 1 000 000 pupils in our schools and with our thousands of university men we ought to create an atmosphere for a better and purer public life.” Mr Ross contended that national greatness could not be attained unless we had the Anglo-Saxon genius for self-government.  This instinct we possessed, for our history showed that our present government was the result of years of struggle, and only came to us because our statesmen dreamed dreams and saw visions, and strove for the fulfillment of these dreams.  They saw in a vision the prairies peopled, canals cut, railroads running, and our people prosperous.  “And,” continued Mr Ross amid an outburst of applause, “there will come a day when our commerce shall girdle the earth, and there shall be no port at which no port at which our shops will not call and our products enter.  Just as today the ports of the CPR are not Halifax and Vancouver, but Yokohama and Liverpool, so the day will come when our all-red route shall encircle the world.”

In conclusion, the speaker urged upon Canadians to preserve for the nation and for future generations the Plains of Abraham, which Mr Ross called the birthplace of our national life.

Mr Ross was tendered a hearty vote of thanks at the conclusion of his able address.