Mr. HUME ORONYN (London):
Mr. Speaker, it will doubtless seem presumptuous to you that at this late hour of the night and after so lengthy a debate I should rise to address the House, particularly when I am deeply conscious of how far I fall short of the eloquence and research which has had my admiration and envy this afternoon. But, like the member for Brome (Mr. Mc-Master), I had given hostages on this question, as it had come up among others during the election, and I should not be redeeming one of the few promises I was called upon to make if I did not put myself on record.
It was a pleasure to have the resolution introduced into this House, and it was a still greater satisfaction to have the Order in Council which had been prepared toy the Government laid before the House. The amendment just proposed receives, it is evident, the support of practically every member present, if one may judge from the unanimous expression of opinion; and so far as I am concerned it receives my heartiest support. I do, however, wish to dissociate myself from some remarks which may be fairly 'construed into an attack on the House of Lords. While the Parliament of Cromwell might well pass a resolution commencing as follows:
The Commons of England assembled in Parliament, finding by too long experience that the House of Lords is useless and dangerous
I do not think it becomes the Parliament of any overseas dominion to reflect upon or criticize an institution which pertains almost altogether to the legislation of Great Britain, particularly at a time like this, when, as a former speaker said, that institution, its members and their descendants have done much to redeem themselves from the disdain with which they had been treated.
In view of the fact that 150 heirs to hereditary titles have already fallen in the war, and that some 2,000 recipients of honours have gone to their last home, I should be sorry to foe a party to anything in the nature of criticism. But it is clear that neither the Order in Council-I think that the Prime Minister referred particularly to that point-nor the resolution or amendment do reflect in any way upon that House, so that one can. support them without hesitation.
I agree with what the mover of the resolution said, that even in the mndst of war this question should receive our immediate and urgent attention. Debrett states that during the past three years, since the war began, honours have been conferred in 7,900 cases; that, of course, includes the various companionships. During the last twelve months, 3,870 such Orders have been granted; 18 peers have been created; 32 baronets, 277 knights and 3,472 companions. These, with some additional honours granted to existing peers make up the total of 3,870, so that, if that flood is to continue-and in comparison with past years, it is a flood-we in Canada could not fail to be inundated by it.
As the member for Springfield (Mr. Richardson) has said, the objection to speaking late in the course of a discussion is that one's arguments have all been advanced, one's quotation used, and little remains to be said. I should like, however, to emphasize the difficulty which the Prime Minister pointed out regarding the fourth section of the Order in Council. I agree with him that great difficulties exist, and although they may be removed by the action of the Imperial Parliament, that, as he pointed out, involves the consent of the House of Lords. As late as 1907 a case came before the House of Lords which illustrates the tenacity with which the Lords guard their privileges. It appears that in 1302 a picturesque individual who went by the name of Roger le Bygod surrendered his earldom of Norfolk to Edward I. Ten years later Edward II. granted to Thomas de Biotherton this earldom, ajnd for many years that new family enjoyed the honour. In 1907 a direct descendant of Thomas de Brotherton asked to be confirmed in the title. But the Lords heldthat the original earl could not surrender his title, that the chartergranted ten years later was invalid,
* and that the only persons entitled to the Norfolk title were the original descendants of our friend Bygod. As Lord Halsbury puts
it. "No peer of this realm can drown or extinguish his honour." As one knows, the doctrine of ennobled blood, based perhaps upon the same foundation as the divine right of kings, appears to endow the nobility with that ichor or ethereal fluid which supplies the veins of the gods instead of the blood of mortals, so that do what one may, it is 'a difficult matter to get rid of hereditary titles once they are granted. This, then, is the time to take action to prevent their entry into Canada, and for that reason the resolution should have the support not only of this House but of the country at large.
The mover of the resolution and others have pointed out very strikingly the evils which spring from the granting of titles. The harm is not so~ much to the recipient as to the rest of the community. Man is prone to worship, and too often, as we all know, he is ready to worship false gods. I remember Henry 'George prefacing one of his chapters with the translation of a proverb of India: *
White parasols and elephants mad with pride are the flowers of a grant of land.
It seems to me that might be paraphrased under these circumstances:
White stockinged serving men and a populace mad for worship are the flowers of a patent of nobility.
Topic: QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic: HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.