Tweedsmuir of Canada
As author, scholar, soldier and outdoorsman, Lord Tweedsmuir has won the respectof all Canada
I. NORMAN SMITH
WHY DOES Canada pay something like $225,000 a year to maintain the office of Governor-General? Why has Lord Tweedsmuir travelled about 70,000 miles throughout Canada in a little more than three years? Why has Canada a Governor-General?
On the face of things, these questions demand answers. But whoever answers must know what he’s talking about. For there is a great deal more in the office of GovernorGeneral than meets the eye. It is one of many British traditions, wreathed in precedent and vague in purpose, but vital in significance.
It is true it is a remnant of the Victorian Era. So is Canadian federation. It is true that Queen Victoria created the office by her “special grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion.” But it is also true that if the office were a sinecure, Lord Tweedsmuir wouldn’t lx* in it. Nothing in the brim-packed career of John Buchan indicates that he likes the sound of a tinkling cymbal. But he does know the worth of a symbol. Emptiness for him, however elegant, is death. Enterprise, thoughtful and vigorous, is his daily bread.
Why, then, has this distinguished gentleman come to Canada to put up with teacup tilting and strut upon occasion as a clotheshorse in a musical ride? To represent the King? To wield the King’s power of attorney in the signing ad nauseam of State documents? To officiate with trowel and flag-string at the laying of cornerstones and the unveiling of monuments?
These duties, admittedly, require dignity and discretion. But Lord Tweedsmuir needn’t have come to Canada to be dignified and discreet. Did he sense real jxiwer behind the screen, and realize that the orders of office were but the introduction to the role? Did he recall what John Buchan wrote in his book, “The King’s Grace”—written in 1935 as a Jubilee tribute to George V— that “the office in itself is a great thing, but it may be made more potent by the personality of him who holds it”? Did he, with all modesty but genuine desire to serve, feel that his broad experience might usefully be applied to the office of Governor-General, and decide that there was an important job to be done for the Empire and that perhaps he might undertake it?
Impressive Literary Career
THE answer to these questions seems to lie in a study of his own life, a life that needs no garnishings to make it impressive reading. It began on the gorse-grown moors and rolling hills of the Scottish borderland. August 2(5, 1875—a land of historic legend, graced by a bounteous nature; a land that might produce an author sensible to sentiment and alert to fantasy. His father was a minister, and his mother was the daughter of a minister.
Scholastic prowess which won bursaries eased the family’s burden of sending John Buchan through Glasgow University; and then Oxford; gave him opportunities to write and read for publishing firms (he recommended acceptance of Arnold Bennett’s first book), which further helped things along. But hard going didn’t prevent the young Scot from becoming president of the Oxford Union, and in 1901 he was admitted to the English bar, in the Middle Temple. This done, he hied off to South Africa as private secretary to the High Commissioner, Lord Milner, and in the trying Boer War days learned much of the secrets of Empire and mysteries of administration—and something of the trade of a soldier as a trooper in the Rand Mounted Rifles.
Upon his return to England two years later, he gave up the active practice of law tojoin his Oxford friend, Thomas Nelson, in the publishing firm of Thomas Nelson and Sons, London. Here was his love and the means of living on it. As well as conducting the active management of the firm with considerable success, he released, w'ith undiminishing speed, novels, histories, biographies and articles in the contemporary journals.
I'’or two years he saw active service in the War in the Intelligence Corps at British General Headquarters, and later wfas promoted Director of Information under the Brime Minister. Stories are still going around Fleet Street of John Buchan’s enthusiastic and brilliant execution of this latter work— another of those vital but vague British positions on which depends so much and about which the public knows so little. His brother, Alastair Buchan, and iiis friend Thomas Nelson were both killed in action the day the Canadians took Vimy Ridge. This was a sad blow to John Buchan, who earlier in his sickbed had written his best-selling novel, “The Thirty-Nine Steps,” because he hoped it would amuse the soldiers in the trenches. He knew about war.
After 1918 his literary work grew apace, and he added to the reputation he gained at Oxford of being a great scholar that of being a distinguished figure in the world of letters. The London Times sought his advice on typography, Reuter’s news agency appointed him a director, and in the numerous ramifications of the publishing business his name became familiar and esteemed. From 1927 to 1935 he was Member of Barliament for the Scottish Universities, and in 1933 and 1934 was Lord High Commissioner to the Church of Scotland, a post held in awe by Scotsmen and embodying personal representation of the Sovereign at the assembly of the Scottish kirk.
The Man and Iiis Job
WHEN IN 1935 he was commissioned to be GovernorGeneral of Canada there was international approval of the recognition, and Canadians in particular lauded the appointment as an honor to the Dominion and a real effort further to secure respect for a position in the New World where viceregal furbelows were becoming just a little strained. There was some surprise in the granting of the commission to a commoner, as it had hitherto been held by those of royal blood or at least of the hereditary aristocracy. But John Buchan was shortly afterward made the first Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield, and that settled that.
In the light of his career, then, it is manifest that this man didn’t accept the King’s Commission because of its glamour and the distinctions it carried; nor did he contemplate filling the post without giving much thought to his ability to do it justice, and to the best manner in which this might be accomplished. We know he is a man of imagination and foresight, a man of high conscience with a
touch of the idealist, a disciplinarian of the mind but at heart something of a sentimentalist. In the light of his three and a half years in office, then, isn’t it possible to move back the clock in the manner of J. B. Priestley and imagine that this is about the way he envisaged his call:
“All is not nearly so well with the Empire as we pretend. Ties are loosening against varying pressures—economic, geographic, political and racial. ‘Muddling through’ is no longer good enough. We must compete with opposing forces, not in the dictum of a dictator but in the language of democracy. The big thing is to keep the Empire together and retain the close friendship of the United States. A Governor-General should be peculiarly suited to work for such a purpose.
“Each Governor-General must approach his job according to his training. I am not a grandee, of noble blood and estate. I’d be foolish to pretend to the traditions of my predecessors. But I am a man of worldly experience in a number of fields, and I must use this experience. I must meet all ranks of Canadians, must learn all colors of thought, understand conflicting points of view.
“It isn’t enough that I explain the English to the Canadians and the Canadians to the English. I must explain the Canadians to themselves. Canada is huge, and must contain as many miles and minds as a dozen of our little Continental countries. There must be great differences in the people, dangerous differences which must be eased by mutual understanding and knowledge.
“There’s my job: to work for Canadian unity, to help establish a national consciousness. I will have leisure and facilities held by no other man. I will be free of the clogging suspicion that surrounds and hinders the efforts of even the most sincere politicians.
“I must travel everywhere, on the back roads and city streets, and as simply as my position permits. And my travelling will be a unifying factor, because where I go will be in the news. Maritimers will read of the Peace River when I am on it, will realize more acutely that the Beace River is theirs; Westerners will learn about Cape Breton if I go East; Ontario fruit growers will be reminded of the wheat farmers when I am in Saskatchewan. The value of this simple type of education through familiarization is known to any who know of the public mind. My wartime experience as Director of Information should help me to do this job well.
“But I must travel otherwise than geographically. I must cross borders of race and creed. I must respect and encourage others to respect the traditions and glories of French Canada. I must welcome in thought and gesture the new citizens of Canada who have come from Middle Europe. I must help to break down every barrier that crosses Canada.
“By thoughtful speeches I can accomplish something, for the power of speech is as great now as in the day of Mark Antony. I must write my own speeches, even the unimportant ones, and I must avoid controversial subjects. I should speak to universities and schools, and maintain an interest I have always had in the system of education. To Canadian youth as to the older generations, my theme, however indirect, must always be to establish Canada’s national unity.”
This, then, was the man; and these were his ambitions. How has he carried out his purpose?
If Lord Tweedsmuir made such a plan, he certainly followed it through. No other Governor-General has travelled as he has, and probably no other has made so many speeches, at any rate no other Governor-General has been heard by so many people, thanks partly to the breadth of a radio audience. And through all his utterances and behind all his gestures has been the underlying theme of nationhood.
It isn't that the Governor-General has nothing to do but concern himself with this indirect crusade, however important it might be in the long run. As a Royal servant, he knows nothing of the regular and orderly hours of the civil servant. His time is his country's, and only between times, and then under difficulty, can he slip into John Buchan and do as he likes. There is a routine of State work to be gone through that in itself is a job; there is a social calendar to be filled that is jealous of his every moment ; there are ceremonial duties ranging from the opening of Parliament to the extension of a hospital; there is a budget of mail to be read and answered each day, and a procession of people to be received. When Lord Tweedsmuir calls it a day it’s a day, and no fooling.
Rising some time between seven and eight o’clock every morning, His Excellency doesn’t spoil the joy of a good breakfast with an English cup of tea at the bedside. His habits, like his accent, are Scottish rather than English; although his manner of speech is free from any marked dialect and notable only by its leisurely softness and precise choice of words.
From 9.15 until ten o’clock he is at his desk with the morning mail and newspapers, the latter selected to give him an all-Canada atmosphere and, of course, the London Times and New York Times.
From ten to 10.20 he goes for a brisk walk around Rideau Hall grounds with a harried aide-de-camp who regards it as a race, and who in winter is hard put to make His Excellency put on an overcoat.
At 10.25 he’s back at his desk, this time facing a pile of State documents which require his signature, a number of letters seeking his patronage or his presence. All Ordersin-Council, brought from Parliament Hill in a red leather locked box, require his signature, and so do minor Government papers granting a ten-day remission of sentence to a prisoner, or permission to John Jones to buy 600 square feet of Government property in the Northwest. Yes, John Buchan is still writing!
A snack at eleven o’clock is followed by more work the answering of important letters, the consideration of certain State questions about which he has been consulted, the dictation perhaps of a sjx'och. Members of the Rideau Hall staff are amazed at being able to interrupt His Excellency while he is at work. He has given orders that anything needing his attention is to be given right of way; thus an aide-de-camp bursts into the dictation of a speech to ask if His Excellency will talk to soand-so at 5.15 o’clock tomorrow. It doesn’t bother Lord Tweedsmuir at all. He gives his answer and goes on with his dictation, picking up in the middle of a sentence without asking where he was. There have been GovernorsGeneral, his aides-de-camp say, who went about their business as touchy as prima donnas preparing for a Metropolitan Opera debut.
From 12.15 until 12.45 is a favorite time to receive callers, ranging from a visiting concert violinist or Cordell Hull to Government officials, personal friends or personal friends of jx'rsonal friends. To describe the callers at Government House would be to describe humanity. All types go there at Lord Tweedsmuir’s request; a “request” that is much like a Royal Command, but which Lord Tweedsmuir is careful to have phrased in a much softer tone. There’s a caller or two virtually every day.
Luncheon is served at one p.m., frequently with guests. This is something of a departure from practice, as it had been the habit to do most of the entertaining at dinner. Lord Tweedsmuir and Her Excellency Lady Tweedsmuir have gone more into the luncheon idea as being less formal and considerably easier.
Luncheon is followed by an informal conversation in the drawing-room, but after about twenty minutes Lord Tweedsmuir excuses himself and slips into his study. Here is where he becomes John Buchan, with no appointments and no formal duties until three o’clock. It is one of those shut-eye periods, sometimes a real nap and sometimes some real work, but almost invariably free of interruption. Here, one imagines, in this bookcased room with thick carpet and crackling fire, John Buchan does his best thinking.
At three p.m. he goes for a walk. This is generally a good one; perhaps around the winding avenues of Rockcliffe, which must remind him of certain old English towns; or perhaps a drive in a car to a good walking district in the country, where he alights and does the job really seriously. But in every case he is accompanied by some member of his staff. Neither Lord Tweedsmuir nor Lady Tweedsmuir ever go out alone. This is a custom handed down by precedent in the interests of safeguarding His Majesty’s representative. There is no doubt that the present Governor-General would like to abandon the practice; but on the acceptance of the King’s Commission out goes personal liberty.
TEA IS served at 4.30, and unless His Excellency’s walk has been an unusually long one, or unless he has driven a long distance, he generally attends. This is frequently the occasion for Lady Tweedsmuir to entertain, and Lord Tweedsmuir makes a point of being on hand for about a half hour. He talks with as many guests as possible, and then about five o’clock excuses himself to retire to his study. For fifteen minutes he has to sign letters of the day, to clean up certain routine business. And at 5.15 he’s likely to have a caller. This is the time reserved for the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet. Lord Tweedsmuir makes every effort to see any Government official who wishes to see him. Sometimes the conversation is not much more than the chat of good friends about affairs and doings of the times. Sometimes it is an earnest discussion about a prospective piece of legislation about which the Governor-General is invited to give his opinion. He is very careful in this regard, as the drafting of legislation is none of his affair and no one realizes this more than Lord Tweedsmuir. But if a Minister seeks his advice, knowing he is nonpartisan and a man of great experience in so many fields, then he gives it in that forthright manner that is his.
These 5.15 interviews last anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour, according to the importance and the Governor’s wishes. But if they terminate by about six o’clock he tries to catch another leisurely bit of reading before dressing for dinner.
Dinner is served at 8.15. When there are guests the dinner is adjourned to the drawing-room, where coffee is served. This is featured by a procedure not unlike the children’s game of musical chairs. The theory is that Their Excellencies don’t move to take up conversation with any guests, but that the guests move to them. It is so arranged by aides-de-camp that each guest in turn gets a spell in the chair alongside either of Their Excellencies and thus everyone “gets a break,” most of all Their Excellencies.
Only rarely does the Buchan family get a chance to dine en famille. But when they do, the favorite pastime for His Excellency thereafter is a game of patience.
It is a cheerful, natural household, considering the difficulties under which it lives. When any of the “children” were in residence, this was particularly the case. But the three sons and one daughter are spread about just now. The Hon. John is up in Baffin Land, working in a Hudson’s Bay post; the Hon. William (Billy) is in England; and the Hon. Alastair is at Oxford, the latter not having featured in the prints since his last attempt to regulate Windsor traffic during a college escapade; the Hon. Mrs. Fairfax-Lucy is living in England with her husband.
With the “family” thus distributed, Their Excellencies take advantage of the companionship of their staff more than
would otherwise be the case. The latter are always on call to round out a table of eight, to escort a party to the theatre, and in one way and another make life more livable for a family that has not the simple privilege of calling someone on the phone at 7.45 and saying, “Come on over, we’re going to move furniture and need your help.”
FORMAL occasions members of the staff are most decidedly on their best behavior, rigid and official. But in | the easy companionship of a quiet dinner or an afternoon’s walk, there is a release of ceremony. Lord Tweedsmuir enjoys a ! discussion with members of his staff, frequently asks their frank opinion of some matter and indulges in badinage on a free I and easy basis. The two aides he brings from England are likely to have been j earlier friends of his, while the senior aide, Colonel Willis O’Connor, C.B.E., D.S.O., is not only a friend of all GovernorsGeneral but as necessary to his chief as a stud to a collar. He is the permanent ¡ official who, though Governors come and go, goes on forever.
The secretary to the Governor-General, Mr. A. S. Redfern, a former governor of the Sudan province of Kassala, has the ¡ rank of Deputy Minister and is Chief of | the Staff, although responsible to the Governor-General and in the employ of the Canadian Government. His task is to supervise all the activity and public relationships of Their Excellencies. He handles the official business of State with the direct assistance of Mr. F. L. C. Pereira, O.B.E., and Mr. H. R. Stewart; and he supervises Their Excellencies’ social activity, with the direct assistance of the A.D.C.’s and Lady-in-Waiting.
The Comptroller of the Household, Lieut.-Col. E. D. Mackenzie, C.M.G., D.S.O., is at once the house manager and house treasurer. Actually, the GovernorGeneral never has money in his pocket. It isn’t that this is thought indecent, but that it is virtually unnecessary. After all, he never goes out alone, never needs to buy car tickets, tobacco, or ice-cream cones. If he is in Montreal and wants a fresh book for the train, he slips into a bookshop with an aide-de-camp and indicates his choice. The aide-de-camp pays the bill, and always, or almost always, in cash. An aide-de-camp recalls j one time going into a store of fine rugs with the wife of a recent Governor-General. Her Excellency decided she’d take one, turned to the A.D.C. to have him pay for it. “I think perhaps we had better charge this one. Your Excellency, it is $400,” declared the aide-de-camp.
Expense of Upkeep
"DUT let’s not get the idea that Their Excellencies have no notion how many cents are in a dollar, that they spend willy-nilly and charge it to the Government. It is not so.
There is a lot of loose thinking in this regard. The public is aware the GovernorI General receives an annual salary of $50,000 and a travelling allowance of the j same amount. But the public seems quite ! unaware of the cost of maintaining the I post in the manner required by the Canadian people. Taking entertainment alone, for example; What of the cost of entertaining, since November, 1935, more than 2,100 people to dinner or luncheon, 2,700 to tea, 3,150 to dances, 4,250 at garden parties, and more than 400 as house guests for various lengths of stay? Or travel: What of the cost of His Excellency’s journeys of 64,212 miles by train, 4,000 by air and 2,000 by car?
These expenses, obviously, won’t leave so much in $100,000 as to make it an embarrassment. The plain truth of the matter is that the Governor-General will lose money on his "deal” with Canada, as did virtually all his predecessors.
The post costs the country about $225,000 a year, including grants to His Excellency, salaries of the staff, upkeep of buildings and grounds, maintenance of the office. Every cent of it is spent directly on Canadian goods and services, and i indirectly on the retention of that link with ; Empire which the post represents. In the light of these things, let the critic ask i himself one question: Is every other
quarter of a million dollars in the country’s operating cost of $550,000,000 put to such good use?
Precedent’s Heavy Hand
"DUT WE must get back to the time| U table we were presenting of Rideau i Hall routine. All too rare are the evenings which Lord Tweedsmuir and Lady Tweedsmuir have to themselves. There are engagements outside or parties inside with such incessant regularity that it is small wonder His Excellency uses his occasional quiet evening quietly, "mother; ing” it as a connoisseur fondles a glass of wine. There are badminton courts, ping! pong tables and the like in Government House but not for him. Perhaps a little game of patience, or more likely a spot of reading in his study, is Lord Tweedsmuir’s idea of making the best of a rare occasion. If it is relaxation he wants, he’ll likely dive into a detective novel; otherwise his diet is of the stronger stuff of biography, history and essays. Contemporary writing doesn’t get much of his time; that is, the books and magazines and periodicals concerned with what Hitler will do next, or why did Roosevelt appoint Frankfurter to the Supreme Court. He reads the newspapers thoroughly and draws his own conclusions. Somehow he isn’t keen, either, on novels. He is not much inter¡ ested in games except rugby football, but j all his life he has been a keen shot, fisher; man and mountaineer, and a great walker.
Their Excellencies do, of course, enjoy a ! certain amount of entertainment outside j of Rideau Hall. But it isn’t everyone’s ! hospitality they may accept. Because the ! task of drawing the line through Ottawa’s ; society would be so great, precedent rules that Their Excellencies may lunch or dine only at the residences of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Representatives, the Chief Justice, the ex-Prime Ministers, the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom and the Representatives of the other Dominions, the Speakers of the Commons and the Senate, and the Apostolic Delegate.
Precedent winks, however, when they dine informally at the home of any member I of their staff. These are "breaks” held in high regard by Their Excellencies, giving them a smell of home cooking and a feeling of home comfort. One aide-de-camp recalls an occasion when the little party had a really homey touch to it. The sherry tasted odd. so the host sent the decanter to the kitchen to be emptied and refilled. It still tasted odd, but they drank it. When the folks had gone home, a raging 1 housewife found that a nervous servant I had served cooking sherry.
There are no restrictions set upon Their ! Excellencies accepting invitations to lunch! eon or dinner outside of Ottawa. But the ; list is gone over carefully, not so much with ; an aim to choosing high company but to ¡ keeping the thing within bounds.
It might be asked if the intense social round, the persistent procession of callers to Rideau Hall and the great amount of "personal appearance” activity, has anything to do with the lofty ambitions we presumed Lord Tweedsmuir to have about the filling of his office. The answer is probably yes and no. In much of the social round Lord Tweedsmuir is able to pursue j his quest for information about the country and the people; is able to carry out his desire to explain one class of Canadians to another; can exert a subtle influence for the Empire by embodying in his person so many of the traits which British people like to believe are peculiarly British. And it is, after all, in the multiplication of such activity that great things are accomplished. There has never yet been a tremendous i job done by a man who devoted himself j to gigantic projects and masterful manj oeuvres merely from nine a.m. to five p.m. \ Big oaks from little acorns grow, in diplomacy as in forestry. This is not to say that the editor in Lord Tweedsmuir would not like to take a big red pencil and run through his engagement book, cutting out the trash and trifles. But precedent is precedent, even in Canada; and not all of the falderal can be discarded without | causing protests. After all, from every type of society something may be learned.
In Ottawa, it must be remembered, the Joneses and the Smiths have been basking in viceregal glitter for a number of years, and the line between curtsy and snub has worn pretty thin in some places. To decree an end to all garden parties, for instance, would sound to some of Ottawa’s chosen thousands like Gabriel’s blast. The situation is improving with time, however, and, remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day, is really not of such undignified proportions as some of the reputedly jealous onlookers in other cities might seem to think.
Wide Knowledge of Canada
BUT A change is as good as a rest, and Their Excellencies enjoy travelling. Lord Tweedsmuir in particular seems at his best when meeting the local people of some small city or town. If it is Sudbury, for instance, he knows all about the nickel industry before he goes there; if it is Regina, he has wheat statistics and trends at his fingertips; if it is Moose Jaw, he may possibly know more about the history of the town and where it got its name than does the local mayor. A part of this knowledge comes from a little preparation before every tour, but his general knowledge of Canadian history and affairs is j now superior to that of all but the most learned Canadians. Be it the Canadian constitution or the organization of the Canadian Pacific Railway, His Excellency knows enough about it to be able to exchange more than superficial remarks ¡ when he dines with Dr. Beauchesne, Clerk of the Commons, or Sir Edward Beatty of the C.P.R. Members of his staff say that few people retire from a talk with Lord Tweedsmuir without commenting on his seemingly intimate knowledge of their own affairs.
His Excellency dislikes doing anything in a perfunctory way. Guests at dinner ¡ introduced to him for a conversation are i engaged for as long a time as expediency ; and fairness to the others permits. He | loathes the mere exchange of greetings and weather comments. This thoroughness also crops up in his inspection of places i while on tour. An A.D.C. recalls with nervous twitchings of the nose a visit which the Governor-General and a few of his staff paid to the Connaught Laboratories in Toronto. It seems the place was j filled with a sharp aroma of guinea pigs. Lord Tweedsmuir insisted on learning all about the tests these animals were undergoing, and didn’t seem to be conscious of the fact that the rest of the party was squeamy in the midriffs. One aide-decamp slipped out for air, but the GovernorGeneral carried on.
Something of the sort has occurred at a number of places, but whether or not he is collecting information for a novel. His Excellency sticks to the job as though his next novel depended upon it. He is a great questioner, which is doubtless the reason of his wide knowledge. The writer knows of many who have gone to Rideau Hall to be received, and come away after a half hour with the feeling of a man who has had his brains raked over in the most polite but penetrating manner. It flatters the visitor to find the King’s representative interested in him, and it all goes to make up that store of general information which John Buchan has been garnering ever since the days of Peeblesshire.
John Buchan, the Author
EVERYONE, of course, asks about his writing. Is he doing a book on Canada? Is he writing anything now? How does he write? Answers to these questions must of necessity be based pretty much on thirdparty reports, as His Excellency gives no interviews.
But it is pretty safe to say that John Buchan is always writing or thinking about writing. His blood stirs every time he sees a new character or hears a new idea, and it is highly unlikely that a man who has written nearly sixty books will spend five years in a new country and leave his impressions unrecorded. But it is equally unlikely that Lord Tweedsmuir would publish either a novel based on Canada or a critical work about Canadian affairs and people while he is still Governor-General. Apart fromsuch a procedure being in questionable taste, it is conceivable that he would prefer to be removed from the country in order to get a better perspective. He concluded his “Augustus” early in his regime here, but there are no open secrets about what he has been writing since that time.
However, it is no secret that he writes something or other nearly every day, and always in his small and sometimes not too legible hand. He has written all his books by hand and in ink (the manuscript of “Augustus” he gave to McGill University), and the person who best deciphers these manuscripts, Mrs. L. A. Killick, is with him in Ottawa, carrying on the duties of personal secretary which she had been doing for John Buchan for nearly thirty years.
On the other hand, he dictates his speeches. Immediately upon the decision to accept an invitation to speak. Lord Tweedsmuir, after some thinking about it and whatever research has been necessary, calls in his secretary to take it from dictation. He doesn’t look at it again until about two days before he is to deliver it. On most occasions he keeps a text in his pocket, apparently for assurance’s sake, but he almost never requires it. His speeches must of necessity be free of controversial matter, but as an added precaution, if his subject is on the border line, it is submitted by His Excellency to the Prime Minister before delivery.
Excluding the brief remarks made at minor gatherings or responses to messages
of welcome, Lord Tweedsmuir has, at the date of writing, delivered an even one hundred speeches since his arrival in Canada.
It used to be the habit of GovernorsGeneral when on a tour to the West to deliver pretty much the same address at each point. It was not without its humor. One governor, for example, had a joke or two in his set speech at which members of his staff were trained to break into laughter as though they’d not heard it before. The governor in question is said to have threatened cancellation of leave if his staff didn't assure the success of his jokes!
Regarding the office which he holds now, Lord Tweedsmuir is in a sense laboring under a misnomer. Actually he should be called a Viceroy, as he is here to represent, or vice, the King. He has nothing to do with ^governing Canada. Yet he and his opposite numbers in South Africa and Australia are called Governors-General. On the other hand, the man who really does some governing is the Viceroy of India, but he is called Viceroy and not Governor-General.
Retirement Will Be Regretted
AMONG bits of Ottawa gossip are that ■*Lady Tweedsmuir is not opposed to having cigar smoke catch in her fine curtains, in fact she likes cigar smoke. Lord Tweedsmuir doesn’t like telephones, seldom uses them. Their Excellencies are never late for an appointment. Aides-decamp set their watches by their arrival for a function. (They were actually two minutes late one time in Winnipeg, but Mr. Redfern says it was his fault !) Their Excellencies are generous with “off the record” smiles and nods to people as they drive through Ottawa streets or wait in line to enter their theatre seats. (Lady Tweedsmuir likes the movies, and is frequently seen at the nine o’clock show, sitting with one or two friends and an aidede-camp in a balcony loge. Lord Tweedsmuir likes the movies too, but is a little harder to please.) He signs himself with a neat letter T. At the Drama League presentations, he likes to go backstage.
And there, perhaps, is a cue to the understanding of Lord Tweedsmuir’s very apparent popularity since his arrival in 1935. He is “backstage” and not “upstage.” But even a popular GovernorGeneral, as Lord Bvng once remarked, “could not maintain his prestige for a second five-year term.” So the Tweedsmuirs will be returning to England in the fall of 1940. Whether or not he will be offered, and accept, another such post in His Majesty’s Commission, perhaps even he doesn’t yet know.
Lord Tweedsmuir is the only GovernorGeneral ever to serve in Canada under three monarchs. When, in 1935, Prime Minister Bennett told Mr. King of his intention of inviting the King to appoint John Buchan, it is known that Mr. King expressed hearty approval. It was then and has been since, an appointment that found commendation in all of Canada, in all types and classes of Canadians. A man of clear intellect and sane sympathy, a man who knows and is known by the world, a man who comes naturally by dignity and simply by distinction, John Buchan and Lord Tweedsmuir have remained one in Canada and become one with Canadians.
And more than that, for, since the personal popularity of a GovernorGeneral must be of only relative significance, Lord Tweedsmuir will be judged by his service to Canada. In this respect it seems again meet that we note what John Buchan wrote in “The King’s Grace”: “The power of the Throne lies in what it is: but the authority of the King lies both in what he is, and in what he has done.” Again, the measure applies to the office of the Governor-General of Canada, and perhaps never with greater force and more deserved compliment than to its present incumbent.