Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Gentlemen of the Senate, Gentlemen of the House of Commons:
It is not necessary for me to say how deeply moved I am at the cordial welcome which has just been tendered me by the Speakers of the Senate and of the House of Commons. I thank them most heartily for their generous words of greeting.
You will no doubt pardon me if I do not express myself in the French language as fluently as I would desire. But I am comforted by the thought that you have lately heard a master of eloquence, the great Viviani, worthy representative of our great and dear ally, that country where at this moment French and English soldiers, representing the two races, are fighting side by ' side and facing a common peril.
This Canada of ours has been created by the genius of those two races, English and French. Each has maintained her language, her religion and her national spirit. Side by side they have lived and have thrived, and at this moment thousands of the bravest sons of Canada are over the seas lending their aid to drive the Germans from the soil of France, and to rid the world from the menace of Prussian militarism.
The Eight Hon. Mr. BALFOUR then, speaking in English, said:
Mr. Speaker of the Commons, Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Honourable Gentlemen: I. turn to a language which I do not admire more than the one I have been somewhat imperfectly speaking, but one with which I am very much more familiar. Perhaps you will allow me to make the rest of my speech in accents that come more familiarly to my tongue.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with the pro-foundest emotion mat I enjoy this opportunity of meeting the two Houses of the Canadian Parliament in joint session. Many of your most distinguished members are, I think I may venture to say, personal friends of my own; I have seen them and have enjoyed their company in the Home land, and now that I come here and have again the opportunity of renewing my friendship with them it is not merely a personal pleasure to interchange ideas and to come in contact with them as those responsible for the government of this great community, but there is a special emotion in feeling that I come at one of the greatest crises not merely in the Imperial history of Great Britain, but in the world history of civilization. Gentlemen, I do not believe that anything [Rt. Hon. Mr. Balfour.]
more unexpected to the outside world has ever occurred than the enthusiastic selfsacrifice with which the great self-governing Dominions of the British Empire have thrown themselves into this great contest. The calculation of the ordinary foreign politician, and especially of the German politician, was that the British Empire was but a fair-weather edifice, very imposing in its sheer magnitude and in the vast surface of the globe which it occupied, but quite unfitted to deal with the storm and stress of war; destined to crumble at the first attack, and, like a house built on the sand, to fall to a great ruin. I do not think myself that that was nearly so foolish, or so obviously idiotic a miscalculation as some of those others in which our German enemies have indulged. On the face of it, to those who are ignorant of the inner spirit which animates the British Empire from one end to the otheT, it would be impossible to conceive of a great State which apparently was less well fitted to deal with the terrible stress of war.Take up the map and you see
large tracts of the world coloured red. They are separated by vast oceans, they encircle the globe; and while the fact that the sun never sets upon the British Empire may be proof of its magnitude, it is no evidence of its strength. Moreover, remember what the foreign speculators about the British Empire must have thought before the war began. They said to themselves: This loosely constructed State resembles nothing that has ever existed in history before; it is held together by no coercive power; the Government of the Mother Country can not raise a corporal's guard in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or wherever you will; she can not raise a shilling of taxation; she has no power to do so. But, they forgot that power which a certain class of politician never remembers-the moral power of affection, sentiment, common aims and common ideals. Even those of us who most firmly believed that the British Empire, a new experiment in the long history of the world, was going to succeed; even those who, like myself, took a sanguine view of the future of our great Empire, must have felt-so loosely was it knit, so vast were the areas that it covered, so improbable that this immense body should be animated by one soul, or that the indirect thrill of a common necessity should vibrate, as it were, from pole to pole and everywhere meet with a response-that such a dream was difficult, and such an ideal hard to carry into effect. When, unexpect-
edly, -without giving an opportunity for preparation or discussion or propaganda, war burst upon the world even those animated by such a feeling might well have doubted whether this great Empire-each unit of which had it in its power to hold aloof had it so desired-would act as one organization animated by one soul, moved by one purpose and driving towards one end. It seems to me almost a political miracle, but the miracle has occurred; and no greater event in my opinion has ever happened in the history of civilization than the way in which all the co-ordinated democracies, each one conscious of its separate life, each one not less conscious of its common life, have worked together with a uniform spirit of self-sacrifice in the cause in which they believed that not merely their own individual security, but the safety of the Empire and the progress of civilisation and liberty itself were at stake.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, it seems to me to be interesting to compare the picture which I have just endeavoured imperfectly to draw of the British democracies working freely together, each under its own institutions, each according to its own lights, towards a common and unselfish end, with what is happening, and has happened, in the Central Powers of Europe. There you find also many communities, independent, or nominally independent, of any alliance, working together towards objects which they, at all events, conceive to be in their own interests. But how different is that bond which unites them, how different are the ideals which they pursue 1 At this moment, if all the stories which reach us from every source have the least grain of truth m them, you have Germany fighting for her own selfcentred ends, encircled by a set of states which she has brought under her" control, who love her not, whose interests are really not identical with hers but which she has got into her grasp, and which doubtless, if they could, would carry out their own policies in their own fashion. The greatest of all these powers is Austria; and yet we all know, or all of us who have access to authentic information know, that Austria is not working with Germany as we are working with France or as the different units and elements of the British Empire are working with each other. Germany has so contrived her diplomacy and has so arranged her material forces that Austria perhaps has not a will of her own; but, if she has a will of her own she is quite incapable of carrying it 'out. What is true of Austria is true, with qualifications and differences, of the other allies who are fighting on the side of Germany. It is true of Bulgaria and it is true of Turkey. All of these are animated not by a desire foT legitimate self-defence, not by a desire for freedom, not by a determination to reach any common end or to carry on any great civilizing work, but they, one and all, are merely pawns in the German game, moved as the German military party desires, not allowed to use their own resources for their own ends, not permitted to have ideals of their own or to pursue them for themselves, but all dragged into this great vortex of German ambition; all designed in the first place to supply the forces by which the-war may be won, and, if the waT is won, as I presume there may be some in Germany who think it will be won, by the Central Powers, then predestined to fall into their ordered places as satellites of the central Prussian sun, as subordinate powers destined to minister to her greatness, to her economic wealth, to her economic control over all other nations, but always in strict subordination to the dominant power.
That is the ideal of the Central Powers, and it is because the world has begun to discover that that is their ideal; because the world now knows that the war was deliberately arranged by the Prussian military party that the provocation which was its nominal excuse was deliberately contrived; that the m.oment was carefully chosen, and that the ends were the selfish ambition of this military class-it is because the world has discovered this, that wherever you find a free democracy, wherever you find the spirit ,of liberty abroad, wherever you find that great spirit of self-development on national lines, there you will find friends of the Allies, there you will find enemies of the Central Powers.
Ever as the months go on, it becomes more evident that this is a world war between the powers of democracy on the one side and the powers of autocracy on the other side. We in this room, whatever shades of differences may separate us, can, in such a contest, take only one side. We can only be on the side of democracy.
We are convinced that for every human combination which has reached the degree of civilization and development that has been attained by all the great western communities, there is but one form of Government, under whatever name it may be called, and that is the Government in which the ultimate control lies with the people. We