The Making of Titled Canadians
C. W. Anderson
IN spite of the protests of a few extreme radicals, there need be no apprehension that the conveyance of the household goods and other effects of the thousands of Canada-bound settlers aboard the Atlantic liners, will be delayed or even momentarily impeded by the importation of the ribbons, stars, collars, crosses and other decorations of newly-created knights. At best, the ranks of titled Canadians show no signs of being seriously overcrowded and there is plenty of room yet for the creation of some scores of K.C.M.G.’s and Knights Bachelor, without making the position of these worthy gentlemen at all uncomfortable, either from their own or from the hydrahearted public’s point of view.
Were there to be a parade of Canadian noblemen and knights on Parliament Hill on the occasion of the arrival of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught—a suggestion, which, if carried out with all due pomp and ceremony, would doubtless prove extremely popular—spectators
of the pageant might be surprised to find that there were not so many of their fellow-countrymen with handles to their names as they imagined. Including those honored at the Coronation, the list of titled aristocrats to-day embraces five peers, seven baronets and fifty-two knights of one order or another, a total of sixty-four all told. But of these, several might just as well be omitted for the reason that they have become permanent residents of Great Britain and are no longer Canadians. Of the peers only one, Lord Aylmer. resides permanently in Canada, and while one hesitates to count out Lord Strathcona and his noble cousin, Lord Mountstephen, yet to all intents and purposes they are Britishers now. Baroness Macdonald, of Earnscliffe, spends most of her time abroad, as does the only purely Canadian Peer, the Baron de Longueuil, whose title dates from before the British conquest.
Of the seven baronets only two reside permanently in Canada. Sir' Edward Clouston, general manager of the Bank of Montreal, and Sir Edward Gordon Johnson, who is in the employ of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Sir Charles Tupper practically spends all his time in England. The others, including Sir John Beverley Robinson, who is reported to be desirous of relinquishing the title, live entirely abroad. With the exception of the Tupper title, which will descend in due course to Mr. J. Stewart Tupper, of Win-
nipeg, the next generation will see very few titles passed on from father to son in Canada, unless there should be an unexpected epidemic of hereditary title conferring in the next few years.
While in Great Britain there are nine different classes of knights, in Canada only three classes are represented. Canadian knights belong either to the Order of St. Michael and St. George or to the Royal Victorian Order, or else they are Knights Bachelor, unattached to any of the orders.
At one time there were one or two knights of the Order of the Bath in Canada, but there are none now.
Those who can recall the details of the recent honor list, will remember that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. This honor raises him from the second class of this Order, to which he was appointed in 1907, and
places him in the first class with Lord Strathcona, Sir Charles Tupper, Bart., Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and Sir Richard Cartwright, the only living Canadians similarly honored.
The Order of St. Michael and St. George, to which a considerable proportion of the Canadian knights belong, was established in 1818 to commemorate the placing of the Ionian Islands under the protection of Great Britain. It was limited at first to natives of these islands and of Malta and “to such other subjects of His Majesty as may hold high and confidential stations in the Mediterranean.” Some years later its scope was enlarged to take in the colonies and it is now assignable to any person who has rendered valuable services in either colonial or foreign affairs. There are three classes in the Order, Knights Grand Cross, who attach the letters G.C.M.G. to their names; Knights Commanders, who are K.C.M. G.’s; and Companions, who are C.M.G.’s. It was to this third class of the Order that President Falconer, of the University of Toronto, Professor Adam Shortt, Mr. C. C. James and Mr. A. F. Sladen, have just been appointed.
The Order now comprises the Sovereign, the Grand Master or Principal Knight Grand Cross, a number of Royal Princes, with honorary foreign members of distinction, and the knights and companions. Its officers are the Prelate, Chancellor, Secretary, King of Arms and Registrar. The Colonial Office in London is its Chancery and it has a chapel in St, Paul’s Cathedral. Its decorations comprise a badge, star, collar, ribbon, mantle and chapeau.
The badge is white enamelled, resembling a Maltese Cross, but with seven arms instead of four. On one side appears the Archangel Michael encountering Satan and on the other St, George and the Dragon. Around each is engraved the motto, “Auspicium melioris aevi” (the token of a better age). Above the whole badge is a crown attaching it to the collar.
The star of a Knight Grand Cross consists of seven rays of silver spreading like the badge and with a narrow one of gold between, whilst in the centre is the figure of St. George with the motto and the extremities of the four arms of a cross protruding from beneath to halfway across the rays. The star of a Knight Commander is smaller and of only four rays. The collar is made up of crowned lions (the two in front having wings), Maltese crosses and ciphers of the letters S.M. and S.G. with a crown in the first centre; all gold except the crosses, which are of white enamel. The ribbon is of Saxon blue with a scarlet stripe. It is worn over the right shoulder by Grand Crosses and round the neck by Knights Commanders, who use it in place of the collar for sus-
pension of the badge. Companions have neither collar nor star and suspend the badge from the buttonhole. The mantle and chapeau are of blue satin, lined with scarlet silk, the latter surmounted with white and black ostrich feathers. It is interesting also to note that the Order is limited to one hundred Grand Crosses, three hundred Knights Commanders anu six hundred Companions.
The Royal Victorian Order of which Lord Strathcona is a Knight Grand Cross and Sir Thomas Shaughnessy is a Knight Commander, was founded in 1896, and was designated as a recognition of personal service to Queen Victoria, but since her death, it has been enormously increased in numbers. It contains five classes, Knights Grand Cross, Knights Commanders and two classes of Members.
Knights Bachelor, of whom there are now thirty in Canada and to which rank the Hon. L. Melvin-Jones, Judge Routhier and William Whyte have just been raised, do not constitute an “Order.” They wear no decoration and have no officers, notwithstanding the fact that Sir Henry Pellatt, who belongs to this class, has been instrumental in forming a Society of Knights Bachelor, the object of which is to elevate the position of this knighthood. There is no limit to the number of these knights.
Considerable misapprehension exists throughout the country as to how knights are created. It is generally assumed that the Government of the day is responsible. On the contrary, the recommending of these honors is the prerogative of the Governor-General. and. while he may and does take advice and suggestions from the Prime Minister, it is not incumbent on him to do so. It is tolerably well known that Lord Minto conferred knighthood on one of the officers of the C.P.R., for whom lie personally had a high esteem, contrary to the wishes of the Government, The recommendations are sent from Rideau Hall to the Colonial Secretary, not from the office of the Canadian Secretary of State, as some might expect. If the Colonial Secretary approve of the recommendations of the Governor-General, he submits them to the King for his approval and advises that they be approved by His Majesty. While the King is supposed to act under the advice of his ministers in this matter, yet he is considered to have more personal say in it than he would have in a matter more purely one of policy.
When the list has been approved, the Colonial Secretary notifies the GovernorGeneral and he in turn, through his private secretary, informs the recipients of the honors that have been conferred on them. If the recipient chooses to go to England for the purpose, he may be formally invested by the King. This, however, is not essential and the conferring of the honor carries the title without formal investiture. A central chancery for all the orders of knighthood was established in 1904 and it was ordained that the issue of insignia and the registration of warrants should be carried out by the Lord Chamberlain’s Department at St. James’ Palace.
Up to 1904, a Knight Bachelor had to pay a fee of fifty pounds on the letters patent and ten pounds on the warrant for the same, but now these fees have been abolished and it costs nothing to become such a Knight. Members of orders of knighthood, however, have to pay very heavy fees to the officials of the orders.
An anomalous situation is created in Canada by the fact that no recognition whatever is accorded to titles in the official Table of Precedence for the Dominion. A Canadian might be created a Duke for that matter and yet officially he would have no more rights than a commoner. Of course, in private life a titled personage takes rank according to British precedence and even on state occasions he is given the same standing by courtesy, but that is as far as recognition goes.
The official table of precedence for Canada was authorized by an Imperial despatch dated 1868, and revised in 1873 and 1893. It gives the following order:
1. The Governor-General or officer administering the Government.
2. Senior officer commanding his Majesty’s troops within the Dominion, if of the rank of a general and officer commanding his Majesty’s naval forces on the British North America station if of the rank of an admiral.
3. The Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.
4. The Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec.
5. The Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.
7. The Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba.
8. The Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.
9. The Lieutenant-Governor of Prince Edward Island.
10. The Lieutenant-Governor of N.W.T.
11. Archbiships and bishops, according to seniority.
12. Members of the Cabinet, according to seniority.
13. Speaker of the Senate.
14. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
15. Chief judges of courts of law and equity, according to seniority.
16. Members of the Privy Council, not of the Cabinet.
17. The Solicitor-General.
18. General officers of his Majesty’s army serving in the Dominion, and officers of the rank of admiral in the royal navy serving on the B.N.A. station, not being in the chief command.
19. The officer commanding his Majesty’s troops in the Dominion, if of the rank of colonel or inferior rank and the officers commanding his Majesty’s naval forces on the B.N.A. station.
20. Members of the Senate.
6. The Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick.
21. Speaker of the House of Commons.
22. Puisne judges of the Supreme Court, according to seniority.
23. Judge of the Exchequer Court of Canada.
24. Puisne judges of the courts of law and equity, according to seniority.
25. Members of the House of Commons.
26. Members of the Executive Council (Provincial) within their province.
27. Speaker of the Legislative Council within his province.
28. Members of the Legislative Council within their province.
29. Speaker of the Legislative Assembly within his province.
30. Members of the Legislative Assembly within their province.
31. Retired judges of whatever courts to take precedence next after the present judges of their respective courts.
A baronetoy such as that conferred on Dr. Osier, places him in a rank intermediate between the peerage and knighthood. He would rank below a Privy Councillor or a Knight of the Garter, in which case his social status would be below that of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who, though only a G.O.M.G., is also a P.C. A fee of five pounds is paid by everyone who succeeds or is created a baronet and he must register his pedigree and receive a certificate from one of the Colleges of Arms. A baronet has no coronet or robes and in the English and Irish divisions, no badge whatever beyond the device of “the bloody hand of Ulster,” to be charged upon his coat of arms. While formerly there used to be a heavy money payment for a baronetcy, now all fees save that of registration have been abolished.
The career of Dr. Osier is too well known in his native land to need repetition here. His distinguished public services as physician, lecturer and professor have won him world-wide fame, and would long before this have received recognition from the crown, had it not been for an alleged prejudice against him entertained by the late King Edward, who was displeased by his famous “chloroform” doctrine. Whenever the Doctor’s name was placed before him, King Edward would, it is said, score his name from the list. That the present King has a more generous opinion of him is evident from the exceptional honor he has conferred upon him.
The advancement of Sir Charles Fitzpatrick is in keeping with the long established custom of honoring the Chief Justices of the higher courts of the land. As occupant of the highest judicial position in Canada, it is fitting that he should rank above his contemporaries in the provincial high courts. For similar reasons the knighting of Judge Routhier, of Montreal, may be taken as a matter of course.
Tlve honor conferred on Senator Melvin Jones gives recognition to the increasingly important business interests of the Dominion. As head of one of the largest industries in Canada, his elevation to knighthood may be taken as a compliment to that class of people who, starting in a humble sphere of action, have surmounted many obstacles and at-
tained to a success that has not only been to their own advantage but has also tended to the general welfare of the country as well. Associated with the West as a young man and a member for some time of the Manitoba Government, Sir Lyman has a wide knowledge of Canada, which has been increased since he assumed control of the Massey-Harris Company in 1891, and became a senator in 1901. It was by the personal request of Sir Wilfrid Laurier that Sir Lyman received this honor.
The knighting of Sir William Whyte, of the C.P.R. and of Sir Max Aitken, M.P., which completes the Coronation list of knighthoods, does honor to two men who, in different ways have done much for Canada. Sir William is past the prime of life, while Sir Max is just entering upon his best years. The former’s sphere of activity has been the great West, which in his capacity of head of the C.P.R.'s western lines, he has done so much to build up ; the latter’s work has lain so far in consolidating industrial interests in the East, work for which he has been peculiarly well adapted. Sir William owes his knighthood to the high personal esteem in which he is held by Earl Grey; while Sir Max was advanced at the request of the Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, the unionist leader in the British House of Commons.
And so the work of making Canadian knights goes forward and year by year sees new ones selected to take the places of those that drop out. The conferring of these titles should be a good thing for Canada, if only the motives are kept pure and the means above suspicion. There should be as much inspiration for a Canadian boy in the thought that some day he may become a knight as for the American boy in dreaming that he may yet be president, or the French boy, that he may become a member of the Legion of Honor, and the chances are largely in favor of the Canadian boy. Viewed in this light, as a recognition of real service to the country, there should be everything in the system of knighthoods to commend them to the people.