Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I rise to move the resolutions of which I gave notice yesterday. The text of both resolutions appears upon the order paper. I shall propose two motions, each of which my right hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) has kindly consented to second. For the convenience of the house the motions will be dealt with as one in the speeches that will be made.
In the last session of the last parliament, members of all parties in the House of Commons united in extending to His Majesty King George V, and to Her Majesty the Queen, the congratulations of the House of Commons of Canada upon the celebration by His Majesty of the silver jubilee of His Majesty's accession to the throne. A new parliament has since come into being. A new king is to-day upon the throne.
In the first session of this new parliament, as recently elected members, it is our duty, on behalf of those we represent, as, indeed, it is also our sad privilege, to convey to His Majesty King Edward VIII the expression of our profound sorrow at the bereavement His Majesty has sustained in the death of his beloved father, our late sovereign, King George V, and to express to His Majesty our own personal allegiance and loyalty; also to express our heartfelt sympathy to Her Majesty Queen Mary.
In the tributes paid His late Majesty on the occasion of the completion of the twenty-fifth year of his reign, there will be found the silver lining to the cloud of the world's sorrow to-day. It may truly be said of mortals, be
their station high or low, that kindly words to the living are better far than many eulogies of the dead. There must be consolation in the heart of Queen Mary, in the heart of King Edward, as there is in our own hearts, that all that could be said to-day was said at that time, and said to better effect, and that, long before his earthly life drew to its close, King George knew how greatly he was beloved by all his subjects, and how universally esteemed he was by all men and nations.
At the close of the day there will often be seen, at the distant horizon in our Canadian skies, that silver light "that never was on sea or land," as the sun, in a blaze of glory, sinks to its rest. Such, it seems to me, will be the world's memory of the passing of our sailor king, as he left these shores for others beyond our ken.
I would not venture, in the presence of a sorrow so manifest as that we have witnessed in all parts of the world, to add anything at this time to the expression of our own grief. Nor shall I seek to repeat what was said in this house, and elsewhere throughout the empire, less than a year ago, and which has found new and deeper meaning in the events of the past few weeks. I shall content myself with expressing on behalf of the parliament of Canada, in common with other parliaments of the empire, our warm appreciation of the tributes paid our late sovereign iby those in authority and others in foreign countries, making special mention, as having reference to our immediate neighbour, of the many fine tributes paid the memory of King George by the president, the press, and the people, of *the United States. International feeling has never found nobler expression, nor have foreign nations come at any time into more friendly touch with our own, than in the sincerity and depth of the sympathy they have shown with the nations of the British Commonwealth in their sorrow and loss.
May I say just a word of the personality of King George V, and of our sympathy with Her Majesty Queen Mary, also of what seems to me to have been of greatest significance in His late Majesty's life and reign.
It is impossible, I believe, to overestimate what we owe, and indeed, what the world owes, to the personality and personal example and endeavours of King George. Had His Majesty been a different type of person, the course of current events in Britain and elsewhere throughout the empire might also have been vastly different. It was what King George was as a man, that accounts most for what he was as a king. His personality permeated all be said and did, and left its glow
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upon his words and actions. He was intensely human, simple and natural in his tastes, gentle and kind in disposition. He liked best those things which contribute most to human happiness-the joys of home, the companionship of friends, the quiet of the countryside. Sandringham meant much more to him than Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. In private and in public life he was highly honourable. He stood for rectitude. He had a profound sense of duty, and he reverenced truth and justioe. Above all, he was "benignly vested with humility"; and he possessed that gift, which God alone can bestow, "a wise and an understanding heart."
There is something which will appeal to all men in the incident narrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to his congregation only a few evenings ago. His Grace told them of a conversation he had had with the late king at the time of the silver jubilee, after its celebrations were over. His Majesty said to the Archbishop, "I cannot understand it all" -'referring to the overwhelming outburst of public tributes that he had received-"I cannot understand it all, for after all I am only a very ordinary sort of fellow." There was something even more appealing, profoundly moving, indeed, in the -words which we ourselves heaYd as we listened to the last of the king's messages, the one given by His Majesty from Sandringham on Christmas day. Referring to the silver jubilee rejoicings and the personal link between himself and the people, which he said he valued more than all else, King George also said: "How can I fail to note in all the rejoicing, not merely respect for the throne, but tihe warm and generous praise for the man himself who, may God help him, has been placed upon it."
It was the man thus revealed amid the trappings of royalty, and unspoiled by the pomp and pageantry of palaces and courts, which caused King George to be so deeply beloved. It was that which, in the words of His Excellency our new Governor General, will cause him to live in history as "a king who came closer than any other monarch to the hearts of his subjects." I believe it may truly be said that there never was a better king.
Here may I pause to say that, while King George's was a wonderful life, made great through real character, His Majesty was ever the first to acknowledge how much his power and influence for good was due to and enhanced by the beneficent influence of Her Majesty Queen Mary.
The life partnership of the queen meant everything to the late king. She was ever at his side in sickness and in health. Together
they shared, for forty-two years, the joys and sorrows of married life, and for over a quarter of a century, the great responsibilities of the throne. By untiring devotion to duty, and self-sacrificing lives, they ever sought to give expression to their love for the people and their desire to serve.
In her great sorrow, the queen may well be comforted by the knowledge of what, throughout his life and reign, her tender ministrations and loving companionship meant to the late king. There should be comfort, as well, in the thought that the love of the people for the king was inseparable from that of their love for the queen.
In her sorrow and loss, I think I may honestly say that there is felt, for Her Majesty Queen Mary, by every member of this house, a personal sympathy which it would be impossible to express in words.
Of the contributions made, to the period of his reign, by King George's personality, and His Majesty's personal endeavours, the most apparent was that towards the unity and good will of all parts of the great empire over which he reigned.
The contribution began with His Majesty's early life at sea, and his subsequent visits to the outlying dominions and India. It was developed, after his accession to the throne, by the catholicity of His Majesty's interests and his close identification with the varied activities of the people. It received heightened emphasis in his immediate contacts with members of the defence forces, at the time of the great war. It was a constant factor at all the great conferences in London.
This contribution found its widest and most intimate expression in the addresses King George made to his subjects at the time of His Majesty's recovery from his severe illness six years ago, and as I have already indicated, in radio broadcasts delivered from time to time, and, more particularly on Christmas day, in the last two years. It was at these times that we all heard for ourselves His Majesty's voice, and were made to feel the friendliness and tenderness of his nature. We gained a new consciousness of the nearness of our relationship to each other, because of our deeply cherished common relationship to him. We felt ourselves drawn together as members of one great family, as he sought to have us share with him the joys and sorrows of his personal life, and as he pictured to us his conception of empire in terms of the loyalties of home and the affection of family ties.
A second great contribution, a contribution closely allied to the one first mentioned, was that made towards the position and per-
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manenoy of monarchy. In the wise and conciliatory manner in which King George dealt with the serious problems which confronted him at the time of his accession, he won the immediate confidence of his ministers. This, during his reign, he never lost. While ministers and governments changed, all alike found in him a wise counsellor and friend. By the steadfast way in which, throughout his reign, King George upheld constitutional government, he won the confidence of parliaments and the people. All knew and felt that he would seek to see that government was carried on without fear or favour to any interest or class. Thus it was that under King George, monarchy and democracy were not only reconciled, but became allied in an effort to preserve what was best in both.
The events of King George's reign-the political and social unrest, a long war, and a difficult peace-were such that with a less wise and less popular sovereign, the throne itself might constantly have been in jeopardy. As it was, notwithstanding far-reaching constitutional and parliamentary changes, and swift and unprecedented change in the organization of human society, the British monarchy grew in public confidence and in international prestige.
There was another equally great contribution made to his day and generation by King George, through his personality and personal endeavours. It was the contribution of more in the way of a spirit of good will and mutual helpfulness between persons of all ranks and classes; a wider recognition of the common human lot.
Having regard to the troubled and unsettled nature of the times in which he lived, and in which we continue to live-to the changing social order-I believe it is impossible to overestimate the value of this contribution. King George, himself, saw in it not only the surest method of maintaining the blessing of peace, but the only means of effectively solving the economic ills which beset us. He hoped that the spirit of mutual helpfulness would grow and spread. By word and by example, he did all in his power to foster and develop it.
There is one more contribution which King George's personality and personal endeavours made to the world of his day of which I should like to speak. It constituted, I believe, the supreme aim of his life. It was the promotion of friendship among all men and all nations. In the quarter of a century during which he reigned, it was given King George to witness more of war, of strife, and of unrest than the world had known
rMr. Mackenzie King.]
in any corresponding period of time, or. indeed, at any time. Perhaps this, more than any other reason, caused him to stress so strongly the importance of human friendships, and to believe that friendly relations with all nations should constitute the cornerstone of British foreign policy.
Whatever the cause, it was friendship between the peoples of different countries, and friendly relations between nations, that His Majesty sought most to keep before his own peoples and foreign states. This aim was expressed in deeply impressive words in the message of thanksgiving cabled to all parts of the empire in the spring of 1929, when King George referred to the sympathy shown him by unknown friends, in many countries, at the time of his illness.
"I long to believe," His Majesty said, "it is possible that experiences such as mine may soon appear no longer exceptional: wrhen the national anxieties of all peoples of the world shall be felt as a common source of human sympathy and a common claim on human friendship."
Even more impressive, as being a part of the king's last message, from which I have already [DOT] quoted, were the words we heard expressed with so much feeling as we listened to his voice on Christmas day. Let me recall those words:-
In Europe, and in many parts of the world, anxieties surround us. It is good to think that our own family of peoples is at peace with itself and united in one desire to be at peace with other nations-a friend of all, an enemy of none.
"A friend of all, an enemy of none." In these words we find the life purpose of our late king. It was the image he sought to impress on the nations of the British commonwealth, as clearly and distinctly as his own royal effigy is stamped upon their coinage. How largely he succeeded in fulfilling the great purpose of his life is apparent in the tributes which have been paid his memory by peoples of all -races and climes, and by every nation under the sun.
" A friend of all, an enemy of none." It is, as such, that, throughout all time, King George will be remembered. What comparable epitaph has found its place upon a royal tomb!
Here we may well take our leave of him whom we knew and loved so well, and with thankful as well as loyal hearts hasten to declare our allegiance to our new king.
There are many reasons why we may with confidence welcome the accession of Edward VIII to the throne of his ancestors. The new king comes of a royal family which has inherited and been true to great traditions of
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public service. Many of us still vividly recall the passing of Queen Victoria. Four years before her death she had celebrated the diamond jubilee of her accession to the throne. Most of the generation of that day ihad known no other sovereign. It seemed, at that moment, as if the British throne would never again have so revered and illustrious a sovereign. That was thirty-five years ago. Since that time the son and the grandson of Queen Victoria have occupied the throne, and each has left a memory revered, not by British peoples only, but by all men and nations.
The death of Queen Victoria occurred between the dissolution in Canada of one parliament and the convening of another. By a rather remarkable coincidence, the first day of the meeting of the new parliament after the death of Queen Victoria-Canada's ninth parliament-was, as has been the first day of this the eighteenth parliament, on the 6th of February. Speaking, in 1901, as I am now speaking to the newly assembled members of the House of Commons, the Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier, referring to the new king, also Edward by name, declared that he who was a wise prince would be a wise king; that the policies which had made the British empire so great under his predecessor would also be his policies, and that the reign of King Edward VII would be simply a continuation of the reign of Queen Victoria.
In expressing our feelings toward our new king, I can think of no words more appropriate than words similar to those used by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in reference to Edward VII. He who has been so beloved as a prince, will, we believe, be beloved in even greater measure as a king. We believe that the policies which have made for unity and friendship under his predecessor will also be his policies, and that the reign of King Edward VIII will be simply a continuation of the reign of King George V.
In his first public utterance as sovereign, Edward VIII declared to his privy council that he was determined to follow in his father's footsteps in upholding constitutional government, and in working for the happiness and welfare of all classes of his subjects. These words His Majesty repeated in a message to the British House of Commons, written in his own hand, and which contained, as well, a reference to the manner in which King George was ever actuated by a profound sense of duty.
We did not need to be thus assured that it would be King Edward's determination to follow in the way his father had set before him. Along more paths than one he has already followed in his father's footsteps. There is scarcely a part of the British empire King
Edward did not visit during the years he was known to us all as the Prince of Wales. His knowledge of the empire and its problems is infinitely greater than was that of King George at the time he came to the throne. His personal friendships with his subjects are vastly more numerous. He is no stranger to government or matters of state. Time and again he has taken his part as representative of the crown on ceremonial and other occasions, and in all parts of the world. The British peoples in different parts of the world had come to look upon him, in his visits to foreign countries, as their ambassador at large. King Edward VIII comes to the throne to-day with a wide knowledge of his people and their problems.
Nor can there be any mistaking King Edward's deep interest in social problems, or his desire for friendship with all men and nations. All who have followed his career know that he has much at heart the condition of those whose struggle is against poverty and adversity. His visits to the industrial areas, his interest in the housing problem, his desire to rid the cities of Britain of their slums, his advocacy of other forms of social betterment and social service, speak for themselves. What he saw of war in France and Flanders, and, even more, what he knows of the legacies it has left, have given him a passionate desire for peace. To the interest and power manifested in these directions as Prince of Wales will now be added the authority and prestige of the throne.
It is not the new king's part in government, so much as our own, that, it seems to me, calls for concern at this time. That King Edward lias a profound sense of duty, and that he will uphold constitutional government, and that at all times he will have uppermost the welfare and happiness of all classes of his subjects, there is not the least doubt. It must not be forgotten, however, that terrible as were many of the years of King George's reign, King Edward has come to the throne at what may yet be seen to be the most critical and difficult period in the history of the world.
Constitutional government, while it places great responsibilities upon a sovereign, places even heavier responsibilities upon his advisers. An ill-advised W'ord, an error in judgment on the part of those in authority, may, in times like the present, precipitate the most appalling of situations. King Edward himself has foreseen this. He made it plain at the moment he was proclaimed king. Having given his pledge to uphold constitutional government, and to work for the happiness and welfare of all classes of his subjects, His
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Majesty concluded his address to his privy council in the following words:
I place my reliance upon the loyalty and affection of my people throughout the empire, and upon the wisdom of their parliaments, to support me in this heavy task, and I pray that God will guide me to perform it.
"The wisdom of their parliaments!" This is now the recognized foundation on which rests, not only the security of the crown, but the security of the peoples of the British commonwealth. Who will say that it may not constitute the security of human society and
As members of one of the parliaments of the empire, well may we join with our new sovereign in praying that God will guide us in the performance of our task.
With these words, Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, seconded1 by Mr. Bennett, that a humble address be presented to His Majesty the King in the following words:
To The King's Most Excellent Majesty:
Most Gracious Sovereign:
We, Your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the House of Commons of Canada, in parliament assembled, humbly beg leave to express our deep sympathy with Your Majesty in the affliction and loss you have sustained by the death of the late King, Your Majesty's beloved
Your Majesty's sorrow is shared by the people of this dominion, whose representatives we are. King George V, by His fidelity to duty. His public service, and His constant endeavour to advance the well-being and happiness of all classes, had greatly endeared Himself to His Canadian subjects. We remember with gratitude His unremitting efforts to secure friendship and peace among the nations of the w*orld. In common with all parts of the empire, we shall ever deeply cherish His memory.
We welcome Your Majesty's accession to the throne of your ancestors. We desire, in so doing, to express to you our loyalty and devotion. It is our firm conviction that Your Majesty will ever seek to promote the happiness and to protect the liberties of all your people. As members of the parliament of Canada, we wish to assure Your Majesty that, in the discharge of these great responsibilities, it is our desire and determination to uphold and
support Your Majesty, to the utmost of our
authority and wisdom.
I would also move, seconded by Mr. Bennett, that the following message of condolence be sent to Her Majesty Queen Mary:
We, the House of Commons of Canada, in parliament assembled, respectfully beg leave to tender to Your Majesty our heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow and bereavement. Wo share Your Majesty's grief and loss in the passing of our late sovereign. King George V, who was greatly beloved by all his subjects.
We pray that, at this time. Your Majesty may be comforted and sustained by the
remembrance of what your loving companionship meant to the late King throughout his life and reign; by memories of service shared; and by the sympathy and love that everywhere surrounds Your Majesty in your great sorrow.
Subtopic: MOTION FOB HUMBLE ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY
Sub-subtopic: KING EDWARD VIII-MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE TO HER MAJESTY QUEEN MARY