Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/232

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


change? The cause is primarily the personality of Queen Victoria. Of course the visible and chief cause of all is the bold policy inaugurated many years ago of introducing parliamentary constitutional government, and allowing the Col- onies to govern themselves.

But, sir, it is manifest that self-government could never have been truly effective in Canada had it not been that there was a wise sovereign reigning in England, who had herself given the fullest measure of constitutional government to her own people. If the people of England had not been ruled by a wise queen ; if they had not themselves possessed parliamentary government in the truest sense of the term; if the British Parliament had been as it had been under former kings in open contention with the sovereign, then it is quite manifest that Canada could not have enjoyed the development of constitutional gov- ernment which she enjoys to-day. It is quite manifest that if the people of England had not possessed constitutional government in the fullest degree at home, they could not have given it to the Colonies; and thus the action of the queen in giving constitutional government to England has strengthened the throne, not only in Eng- land, but in the Colonies as well.

At the close of the Civil War, when the union of the United States had been confirmed, when slavery had been abolished, when rebellion had been put down, the civilized world was shocked to hear of the foul assassination of the wise and 198

�� �