I coum not give any explanation to the hon. member (Mr. Henderson), but I suppose it is due to the fact that, perhaps, one Bill is longer than the other. They are all sent at the same time, and I do not see any reason why they should not be printed.
Topic: ATLANTIC AND LAKE SUPERIOR RAILWAY COMPANY.
It is always necessary, at all events, that a Bill shall be printed. I understand this one is printed. The rule I laid down a few minutes ago is for the purpose of avoiding any misunderstanding, because in the past I am informed that there have been misunderstandings about these Bills. A Bill will not be called unless it is marked printed on the Order paper.
Topic: ATLANTIC AND LAKE SUPERIOR RAILWAY COMPANY.
Mr. Speaker, before the House rose for recess, I was endeavouring to show what the object of this motion was, and that its amendment, if amendment were permissible, could in no sense change its terms, providing it is admitted as I understand it to be admitted, by at least the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Borden), that all the objectionable and offensive features of the declaration which attends the coronation of the sovereign of the empire should be eliminated. It is not necessary to discuss the question of the amendment if it is merely a technical feature which does not in any way affect the merits involved in the resolution. And, Mr. Speaker, the very first thing we have to inquire is : What is the object of the
resolution ? As read, it proposes to ask His Majesty to amend the Test Act by eliminating the declaration which is attendant upon the ceremony of the coronation of the sovereign of the empire, and for the reason: that that declaration takes exception to the dogma of a particular church, and it becomes a question for us to con sider as to what a dogma is.
The hon. gentleman may say ' Oh,' but that consideration is
relevant in a discussion of this kind, because, as I understand it, a dogma is an opinion or theory derived from the gospels, and formulated as a doctrine by the church ; or, it is an opinion or theoiy of men founded on the words of Christ. Without going into a discussion of dogma, or without considering at all the religious opinions that may be held, it must be apparent that we, as citizens of the empire, interested in the sovereign, interested in all that appertains to his kingly office, should be anxious to see that there is nothing- surrounding his high estate which could in any way transgress that liberty of conscience which is enjoyed by all those living in the British Empire. I for one am willing to subscribe to the proposition, that we as citizens of the empire should respectfully suggest and pray that there shall be eliminated from the coronation ceremony anything that could be considered as offensive to the religious convictions of any subject of His Majesty.
The hon. gentleman from West York (Mr. Wallace) referred to the fact that His Majesty, as King of England, was obliged to subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith, and also to the Thirty-nine Articles. While that may be so, it would seem to me that His Majesty does not do so as an individual, or as a King, but that he does it under the law as head of the church. If His Majesty subscribes to the Thirty-nine Articles, I hold that he does not in any sense subscribe to the Westminster Confession, for it stands to reason that he cannot subscribe to both, because for many reasons they are diametrically opposed to each other. Therefore, while the law recognizes him as head of the Established Church in Scotland, and also as head of the Established Church in England, yet the law does not require of him that he shall personally subscribe to any of the doctrines or dogmas contained either in the Thirty-nine Articles or in the Westminster Confession of Faith.
At all events a discussion as to whether His Majesty does or does not do so is not relevant to the proposition involved in the resolution before the House. After listening to the utterances of the hon. gentleman from West York (Mr. Wallace), one is at a loss to know whether or not that gentleman is conversant with the occurrences which have transpired within the last twelve months. If there is one idea more than another which has grown and developed in Canada during this past year, it is the idea of empire. On every occasion, from every platform, among all classes and creeds we hear utterances in this Dominion as to the growth of the idea of empire. It is not germane to the subject that we should view
the inception of this idea of empire from an historical standpoint. It is not even necessary for us to attempt to discover how the idea got lodgment in the minds of British subjects everywhere in all lands. We have only to recognize the fact that in Canada this idea has grown, and we have evidences of it on every hand. In all the public speeches of leading statesmen, in all the opinions ventilated by publicists and men of affairs, the idea is promulgated that we are beyond and above what we were a few years ago ; that we have developed from the mere citizenship of Canada, grand as that is, into the broader and grander citizenship of the British Empire. I do not think it is necessary for me to go into detail of the origin of those British institutions of which we are all so proud. That, I will leave to the historian, hut I may recall the fact that in the early history of the United Kingdom originated those grand British institutions at a time when England was Catholic, at a time when there was no test oaths ; at a time when the religious convictions of Englishmen were far different from what they are to-day. Take the glorious Magna Charta ; take the right of trial by jury ; take the idea in our municipal affairs of magistrates and sheriffs and such officers, and you will find that their inception was at a time when England was wholly and solely and exclusively Catholic. Therefore, Sir, if we take pride to-day in the idea of empire, we must not forget what we are and whence we sprung ; we must not shut our eyes to the past. Bearing this in mind, I am sure that we will all be prepared to view this question dispassionately and calmly, recognizing the changed conditions, and recognizing too, that we in Canada are a different people to-day from what we were even a few years ago. I am sure that our neighbours to the south of us take pride in the idea and in the history of the Pilgrim Fathers. They take pride in the fact that they came from that ancestry- and there are many in Canada who had the same origin, and who came here by way of New England. If they take pride in that fact, it is because there was implanted upon the shores of New England, when their little bark arrived, the principles of religious liberty and freedom of conscience, and the right to worship God at whatever shrine their consciences dictated. This idea has been beautifully described by Mrs. Hemans in her poem on the Pilgrim Fathers :
What sought they thus afar ?
Bright jewels of the mine ?[DOT]
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war ?-
They sought a faith's pure shrine !
Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod !
They have left unstain'd what there they found-[DOT] Freedom to worship God !
And while our neighbours to the south rejoice in that freedom and claim it as a proud heritage, I am sure there is no portion of this American continent where the people can take greater pride in the same freedom than we in Canada. If our neighbours have that freedom, I am sure that we have it in its very essence, and enjoy it to the fullest extent. That being the case, we surely must recognize that under the la w this privilege belongs to every man living in Canada and having the rights of Canadian citizenship. If, then, it is acknowledged as a right which the citizens of the empire may enjoy to the fullest extent, it must surely be acknowledged as a right that should be enjoyed without offence, and without anything that would in any way reflect upon or mar the enjoyment of that right. If that is the case, surely there can be no objection on the part of Canadians to approach the Throne and ask that there shall be eliminated from that test oath the objectionable features that have been referred to, as embodied in the declaration which has been under discussion this afternoon.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not refer to myself with any idea of wishing to invite personal attention ; but I do think that it is permissible to me to refer to the position which I hold with respect to these matters. I am not in any sense in sympathy with the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. My origin and my ancestry were such that I came from one of the Protestant denominations, and I owe allegiance and give adherence to one of the Protestant denominations of this Dominion. I recognize that at one time in the history of this empire that denomination suffered under legal and civil disabilities. I recognize that there was a time, even in Canada, at least in the province from which I come, when those who enjoyed the same ideas of religion that I do were under the ban-under disabilities with respect to public offices-when they were not in the enjoyment of the fullest civil and religious freedom which they enjoy to-day.
If this were a question iuvoiving the adoption of some particular dogma or creed, if it wore a question which in a way involved the acceptance of doctrines which I as a Protestant do not hold. I could not in any sense approve of or support the motion of my hon. friend from Victoria. But I do not understand the question to be that at all. I understand the motion in no sense diminishes or restricts the religious freedom which every man in Canada enjoys to the fullest extent. It in no sense modifies the religious opinions of any one supporting it. It simply says that there shall be no reflections cast upon the religious convictions which any citizen of the British Empire may hold. With these ideas dominant in my mind, and with the idea that I would wish to enjoy my own religious convictions to the fullest extent without any reflection being cast upon them, I grant to those
whose religious views differ from my own the same right ; and I would not ask that there should be anything, either on the statute-books of this country or in any ceremonial connected with parliamentary proceedings, that woufd in any way reflect upon the conscience, the judgment or the religious conviction of any citizen of the empire, whoever he may be. I go farther, perhaps, than some hon. members of the Protestant faith ; I believe in the entire severance of church and state ; and I belong to a denomination which has that idea for its guiding principle, and which, through good report and ill report, has always stood up for that principle. The hon. member for West York (Mr. Wallace) has stated that there are a number of Protestant denominations clustering around the Church of England. I want to say to him that I belong to a denomination that is in no sense clustering around the feet of the Church of England, or around it in any way. I belong to a church holding the faith which, in my judgment, had its origin long before the Church of England was ever thought of.
My hon. friend says that is right. It is right, because sacred history will prove it to be right. And, that being so, I would be untrue to the tenets of that faith if I were in any way to subscribe to a doctrine at variance with them. I have the deepest sympathy with those who are in any way brought under the ban from a religious standpoint. If my reading of history teaches me aright, there have been offences of a serious character committed by Protestants and Catholics alike in the history of the past. And if there is one blot upon the history of our young Canada, It is the expulsion of the French Acadians from the soil of Nova Scotia, in 1755. Was it because they were disloyal ? If my memory be correct, from 1735, down to 1755, the French Canadians of the province of Nova Scotia suffered untold hardships, were deprived of privileges, and in every way placed in an unenviable position. This state of things finally culminated in their expulsion. I ask. were they expelled because they were not loyal or not willing to be loyal subjects of His Majesty ? No, Mr. Speaker, they were willing to take the oath of allegiance, but refused to subscribe to the declaration involved in that test oath: and because they were not willing to become apostates to their faith, because they were true to the religious convictions which they learned at their mother's knee, they were [DOT]sent out wanderers and outcasts over the continent of America. And their story, as you all know, has been beautifully told by Longfellow. If, 150 years ago those people were unwilling to subscribe to that declaration and suffered by reason of their refusal, surely hon. members must admit
that since then we have made advances in the direction of civil and religious liberty, which we should not ignore by voting against this resolution,
I cannot believe that our Christianity has been so ineffective, so futile during that period, that there have not been advances in mutual toleration and self-respect, and I cannot believe that the people of this country would be unwilling to subscribe, every one of them if it were brought to their notice, to the principle in the resolution before us.
My hon. friend who resumed his seat last belongs to an order which has given him great prominence, and I desire to say to my hon. friend, that I am an humble member of that order also. But when I profess allegiance to that order, I do so upon the well-recognized fact that the principles of that institution are based on equal rights for all, and while that order upholds the maintenance of the Protestant religion, at the same time it requires its members to give liberty of conscience to those who do not see eye to eye with them. And if it be true that the cardinal principle of that order, to which my hon. friend owes very much, be equal rights to all, then I ask those who are of the Protestant faith how would they like it, if some cherished tenet of their faith were denounced in any declaration by the sovereign of this empire, under the form of law. I think I need only appeal to the fair Canauian citizenship of this country for an answer to that question. Equal rights to all and the full freedom and enjoyment of all our religious convictions, but a condemnation under the law of none should be our guiding principle. [DOT]
I shall, therefore, have much pleasure in voting, because of the faith to which I subscribe, and the allegiance I owe to that faith, in favour of the resolution moved by the hon. member for Victoria.
Before giving my vote on this question, I would like to offer a few remarks to the House. I listened with pleasure to the speech of the hon. member for Victoria, N.B., (Mr. Costigan) in introducing his resolution. He introduced it in a modest manner, and a style which was not in the slightest degree objectionable. I also listened with pleasure to the speech of the right hon. leader of the government, and to the sentiments he expressed, I could scarcely find any objection. I listened also with a good deal of interest to the remarks of my hon. friend from West York (Mr. Wallace), and was particularly pleased to hear him read from the Confession of Faith. Perhaps it is a long time since I have read it, and it reminded me of my early days when, between my meals of oatmeal porridge, X was brought up principally on the shorter catechism and the confession of faith. I am not like my hon. friend from Norfolk (Mr. Charlton), who states that that 24
faith is under the process of revision at present, and consequently is uncertain in his views. I stick to it in its entirety. And I must remind my hon. friend from West York, that there are no dignitaries in the Presbyterian Church, and when he asserts that the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) is a dignitary in that church, I must take objection to his statement. It is a church which sticks to its faith, and 1 hold to the confession of faith and the short catechism on which I was bred and educated. With reference to the question before the House and the sentiments expressed toy the hon. gentleman who introduced it, although perfectly agreeing with him, I must draw his attention to the resolution, which is entirely a different thing. I must remind him that in all the debates in the House of Lords, and in the House of Commons, I never heard of any fault found with the declaration of the King.
The debate turned simply upon a criticism of tlie coronation oath, as to how it affected the legislative and executive action of the King himself ; because the declaration does not affect it in any way. There are two things required by the Settlement Act. The first of these is the coronation oath. If it were confined to that, any man, even a Roman Catholic could take that oath and be the sovereign of Great Britain. There is a prerequisite declaration besides the oath. I agree with the right hon. the premier, that the declaration consists of two parts, one in reference to transubstantiation, the other in reference to the worship of the Virgin Mary, and the saints-two parts that are contrary to the belief, and objectionable to the feelings of every Roman Catholic. But he must remember that, in the clause of the petition he proposes to send to the old country, in seeking to eliminate these two objectionable parts, he does not substitute any declaration at all. And I venture to say that there is not any other person who does not believe and maintain that the sovereign of the British Empire should make a declaration that he belongs to the Protestant religion. That is a pre-requisite along with the coronation oath. You do away witli that declaration.
The declaration belongs to the test oath, which was required by the Act of Mary. That Act was repealed by the Act of William and Mary, the only part that was retained being the declaration. The declaration was included in the test oatli which was required, as the Prime Minister said, of every member of parliament, of every member of the House of Lords, and of every subject of the sovereign when he accepted office. But that test oath was abolished in regard to all the subjects of the sovereign and retained solely
in the case of the sovereign himself. That declaration is a pre-requisite under the Settlement Act, when the sovereign must declare that he is a believer in the Protestant religion
I would like to follow the hon. gentleman, but I am not sure that I understand him. Does he say that there are other declarations than the two to which he referred, about disbelief in the worship of the Virgin and of transubstan-tiation ? Does he say that there is a third declaration required ?