1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Parkin, George Robert

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PARKIN, GEORGE ROBERT (1846–), British Canadian educationist, was born at Salisbury, New Brunswick, on the 8th of February 1846. His father had gone to Canada from Yorkshire. Parkin was the youngest of a family of thirteen, and after attending the local schools he started at an early age as a teacher. Bent on improving his own education, he then entered the university of New Brunswick, where he carried off high honours in 1866–1868. From 1868 to 1872 he was head master of Balhurst grammar school; but he was not content with the opportunities for study open to him in Canada, and he went to England and entered Oxford. Here the enthusiastic young Canadian was not only profoundly affected himself by entering strenuously into the life of the ancient university (he was secretary of the Union when H. H. Asquith was president), but in his turn was instrumental in bringing the possibilities of British Imperialism to the minds of some of the ablest among his contemporaries—his juniors by six or eight years. It is hardly too much to say that in his intercourse at Oxford in the early ’seventies with men of influence who were then undergraduates the imperialist movement in England substantially began. On returning to Canada he became principal of the chief New Brunswick school at Fredericton (where in 1878 he married), and for fifteen years he did excellent work in this capacity. But in 1889 he was again drawn more directly into the imperialist cause. The federation movement had gone ahead in the meanwhile, and Parkin had always been associated with it; and now he became a missionary speaker for the Imperial Federation League, travelling for several years about the empire for that purpose. He also became Canadian correspondent of The Times, and in that capacity helped to make Canada better known in the mother country. In 1894 he was given the honorary degree of LL.D. by Oxford. In 1895 he returned to scholastic work as principal of Upper Canada College, Toronto, and retained this post till 1902; but he continued in the meanwhile to support the imperialist movement by voice and pen. When in 1902 an organizer was required for the Rhodes Scholarship Trust (see Rhodes, Cecil), in order to create the machinery for working it in the countries to which it applied, he accepted the appointment; and his devotion to this task was largely responsible for the success with which Rhodes’s idea was carried out at Oxford. His publications include Reorganization of the British Empire (1882), Imperial Federation (1892), Round the Empire (1892), Life of Edward Thring (1897), Life of Sir John Macdonald (1907).