Laurier had lived in Great Britain, nothing could have prevented him from becoming its Prime Minister. So we have reason to believe that his talents, although afforded plenty of scope in Canada, did not reach the full limit of their possibilities here, and that he was fully capable of performing higher and more exacting duties if fate had placed those duties as his task.
I think it is sometimes justifiable to use the language of others when it exactly expresses one's own sentiments, and what I am about to quote I would adopt as the language of this side of the House as well as adopting the sentiments so ably expressed by the Minister of Finance. This newspaper was not a supporter of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and therefore I quote from it with the greater freedom. It says:
Another Link with the Glorious Days of Canada's Making is Broken by Laurier's Death.
In the passing of Sir Wilfrid Laurier yet another link with the spacious days of panada's making has gone. There are great names in Canadian history-Baldwin and LaFontaine, Brown, Gialt and Tupper, Blake, Macdonald and Laurier, and rightly indeed does the London Daily Chronicle, in its tribute to the dead statesman, say:-* .
"Laurier's name will ibe permanently associated with some of the most important phases in the development of the British Commonwealth. Not only will Canada always rank him among the great builders of her nationhood, but he will hold his niche in the temple of world history."
Apart altogether from the political views which he held, and advocated, the testimony is universal that Sir l Wilfrid Laurier in the-truest sense was a great man. He belonged to the Empire, and for many years he was the most considerable figure in Greater Britain. A French Canadian with unquestioned devotion to that race and its traditions, he yet accepted as Jiis task the establishment of a better understanding and a closer union of the two races of the Dominion, and though it was a task which has not yet been completed, Sir Wilfrid had the satisfaction of achieving a marked advance. iNo need of Canada has been greater and none has lain nearer to the statesman's heart than the removal of discord between the different races and tongues and creeds which comprise the Canadian Confederacy. To have attempted a task of such magnitude and hedged with tremendous and critical difficulties, is in itself an eloquent testimony to his essential greatness.
Former political opponents -are one to-day in voicing their ungrudging admiration and unqualified recognition of his undoubtedly great gifts. Though not blind to his political fallings and to views which they believed to he detrimental to Canada's truest welfare, yet as one man they express the highest regard for Sir Wilfrid's strict personal probity, his untarnished character and the years of strenuous and devoted service to the Dominion.
As an orator Sir Wilfrid Laurier occupied a unique position. As one writer in the English press has said-'He was gifted with unusual personal advantages. His appearance alone
was worth a handsome fortune. His figure, lithe and straight as a 'larch; his face unwrinkled ; his glance clear and searching, made up a personality that wielded a strange fascination for his hearers. He spoke as well in English as he did in French-his mother-tongue. Among the many gems of Sir Wilfrid's oratory, the following, delivered in Paris in IS 97, is considered one of his finest utterances
a speech touched with a prophetic fire:
The citation from the speech referred to by this writer, I quote:
"It may be that here in France the memories of the ancient struggles between France and England have lost nothing of their bitterness, [DOT]but as for us, Canadians of whatever origin, the days we hold glorious are the days when the the colours of France and of England, the tricolour and the Cross of St. George, waved together in triumph on the banks of Alma, the heights of Inkerman, the ramparts of Sebastopol. Times change; other alliances are made, but may it be permitted to a son of France, who is at the same time a British subject, to salute those glorious days with a regret which will perhaps find an echo in every generous mind on either side of the Channel."
This quotation which I have taken the liberty ,to read, conveys to you, Sir, and to the House, my own views, and perhaps puts them better and more concisely than I myself could. Let me conclude by saying that we appreciate what has been done in the country, and what is now being done, to honour the memory of the great departed chieftain. We acknowledge, with thankfulness, what has been done by the Government in honoring his mortal remains, and we are thankful for the tribute that has been paid to his memory by the leader of the Government to-day. We on this side of the House, and his friends generally, particularly those of his own party, might say, as has been said by a wise man of old, " Our Father, our Father, the chariots of liberalism and the horsemen thereof," and may I say, with one of old, to my friends and the public at large, " Know ye not that this day there has fallen in Canada a prince and a great man,"