April 25, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)


Rt. Hon. Sir ROBERT BORDEN (Prirms Minister):

May I ask the indulgence of
the House for just a moment while I read a letter which reached me on Saturday last, and which I think expresses so admirably the spirit of the young men of Canada that it is desirable to give it publicity at this time. I shall not give the name or the address of the writer, a boy of sixteen years, because I know he did not write the letter in order that his name might come before the public. It is as follows:

Toronto, Onit., April 18, 1918. Sir Robert Borden,
Dear Sir,

I am asking- yon a favour to help me get in the army. I am only a boy of 16 years and want to give my life for my country. I have tried' many times but failed1. Why I am asking you is because you are like a King to Canada and' if you said' a word It would help me more than anything else. My dad has been to the Front and now hie is back again, and you have taken my brother, and now I am the only one left to do something for .my country. And, Sir, if you only knew how I am going crazy to do something to gain honour. I am strong and healthy, I have never had any sicknes in my life. I was just reading the paper this morning and saw what you said "Canadians must hold the line." They oanniot do it without men. Please will you give me a position in that line I don't call myself a man but I might help to hold that line. So please give me a chance, the line is more valuable -than my life.
Tours very truly. -
The boy lived on Melinda street, in Toronto. Two sentences struck me as really remarkable-the one in which (he sayS, " now I am the only one left to do something for my country." He might naturally and most reasonably have said, " I am the only one left to do something for my family," but he did not say that; he said, " I am the only one left to do something for my country." And then observe the last words of the letter, " the line is more valuable than my life." .
I am s-ure that that letter does indeed express the spirit of the Canadian people, and as long as that spirit endures, and I am confident it will always endure, we need have no fear for the destiny of our country whether in this war or after the war.

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