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Title: The Secret of Heroism - A Memoir of Henry Albert Harper
Author: King, William Lyon Mackenzie
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Henry A. Harper]

                              _THE SECRET
                              OF HEROISM_

                             _A Memoir of
                         Henry Albert Harper_

                         W. L. MACKENZIE KING_

                    _New York    Chicago    Toronto
                       Fleming H. Revell Company
                         London and Edinburgh_

                          Copyright, 1906, by
                       FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY

                           _SECOND EDITION_

                      New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
                      Chicago: 80 Wabash Avenue
                      Toronto: 27 Richmond Street, W.
                      London: 21 Paternoster Square
                      Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street

                               My Mother

    O strong soul, by what shore
    Tarriest thou now? For that force,
    Surely, has not been left vain!
    Somewhere, surely, afar,
    In the sounding labour-house vast
    Of being, is practiced that strength,
    Zealous, beneficent, firm!
      --_Matthew Arnold, "Rugby Chapel."_


  TO THE READER                                                        9

  THE SECRET OF HEROISM                                               21

  THE INFLUENCE OF HOME                                               24

  COLLEGE AND AFTER                                                   34

  THE DAY'S WORK                                                      46

  NATURE                                                              55

  BOOKS                                                               65

  THE LOVE OF OTHERS                                                  78

  SOCIAL AND POLITICAL IDEALS                                        105

  THE PURPOSE OF LIFE                                                135

  A LAST WORD                                                        150

                            _TO THE READER_

The erection by the Canadian public of a monument in the capital of
the Dominion; its unveiling by the representative of the Crown; its
acceptance, on behalf of the government, by the Prime Minister of
Canada; a gathering of thousands to do honour to the occasion,--and
this, to commemorate the heroism of one not yet eight and twenty years
of age,--is a national tribute which may well cause us to pause and
silently revere a people who in their hearts cherish so strong a love
for the heroic, and build for their children such sacred traditions.

It is now four years since Henry Albert Harper, in an endeavour to save
the life of Miss Bessie Blair, a girl of rare and beautiful character,
was drowned with her in the Ottawa River. On an afternoon in December,
1901, he had joined, by chance, a party of three, of which Miss Blair
was a member. They were skating on the river, a little before twilight,
when Miss Blair and a gentleman who accompanied her, came suddenly
upon a wide space of open water near the mouth of the Gatineau. Before
there was time to avoid it, they had skated into the opening, and were
at the mercy of the current. Harper, who was following at a short
distance with a friend of Miss Blair, witnessed the accident and went
at once to their assistance. Having sent the young lady with whom he
was skating to the shore for help, he himself lay prone upon the ice,
close to the edge, and extending his walking stick, endeavoured to
put it within reach of those in the water. Finding the distance too
great, and hearing Miss Blair assuring her companion that she could
swim alone, for each to make a single attempt lest they should go
down together, and seeing also that he was striving in vain to save
her, Harper regained his feet, pulled off his coat and gauntlets, and
prepared to risk his life in an endeavour to effect a rescue. In
answer to entreaties not to make the venture, that it meant certain
death, he exclaimed, "What else can I do!" and plunged boldly into the
icy current in the direction of Miss Blair. They perished together;
their bodies were found on the following morning, the one not far from
the other. Miss Blair's companion had a miraculous escape, otherwise
no one would have known of the brave deed which has given Harper an
enviable fame, and of the no less splendid courage of Miss Blair. She,
as well as Harper, was prepared to give her life for another.

At a largely attended public meeting, held in the city hall of Ottawa
a day or two after the occurrence, and which was presided over by the
mayor, resolutions were passed inviting the public to join in the
erection of a monument to commemorate Harper's heroism. It was decided
that the monument should be of bronze or stone, to be erected in the
open air, and to take the form of a figure symbolical of heroism and
nobility of character, such as might be suggested by the figure of
"Sir Galahad," in the famous painting of that name by the late George
Frederick Watts, R. A. The choice of a sculptor was to be determined by
a public competition, unrestricted in any way.

The character of Harper's act was sufficient in itself to suggest "Sir
Galahad" as a subject suitable for a memorial of this kind, but the
choice had, in fact, a more intimate association with Harper himself.
Hanging on the wall above the desk in his study, and immediately before
him whenever he sat down to work, was a carbon reproduction of Watts'
painting. He had placed it there himself, and often, in speaking of it
to others, had remarked, "There is my ideal knight!"

In the design and model submitted to the memorial committee by
Mr. Ernest Wise Keyser, the best expression appeared to be given
to the ideal which it was hoped might be embodied in the monument
to be erected. Mr. Keyser is a young American sculptor, a citizen
of Baltimore, Maryland, who had his studio in Paris at the time.
Subsequent to the making of the award it was learned that he had been
born on the same day of the same year on which Harper was born. He was
commissioned to execute the work. A beautiful bronze "Sir Galahad,"
mounted on a massive granite base, deep carved in which are Sir
Galahad's words in the _Holy Grail_,

    "_If I lose myself_
     _I save myself_,"

the whole standing within the shadow of the stately pile which crowns
Parliament Hill, marks the successful completion of the sculptor's task.

The monument was unveiled by His Excellency Earl Grey, Governor-General
of Canada on the afternoon of Saturday, 18th November, 1905. A fitting
impressiveness marked the unveiling ceremonies. Notwithstanding that
so long a time had elapsed since the deed it commemorated, and that
the approach of winter was already evident in the cold air and in
the presence of snow upon the ground, three thousand or more of the
citizens of Ottawa assembled in the open to do honour to the occasion.
Mr. P. D. Ross, the chairman of the memorial committee, presided, and
the Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Prime Minister of Canada,
accepted the monument on behalf of the government. The writer had the
honour, on behalf of the memorial committee, of presenting the monument
to Sir Wilfrid. The eloquent tributes paid to the memory of Harper by
the chairman of the committee, and by the distinguished representatives
of the king and of the people at the unveiling, were regarded by those
who heard them as a memorial not less splendid than the monument which
occasioned the reference. The chairman, Mr. Ross, gave expression, in
the following words, to the feelings which had prompted the public in
the erection of the monument:

  "Harper lost his life. But in that sacrifice he left to the
  rest of us a great lesson and a great inspiration. Every fellow
  Canadian of Henry Harper was honoured by his death, and every
  man of the English-speaking race from which he sprang. It was an
  assurance that in this country there is present the old manly
  virtue, the true steel of our forefathers. And, far more than
  that, it was one argument more that our human nature has in it
  inspiration and strength from a higher than earthly source.

  "Had such a thing gone uncommemorated by us, his fellow citizens,
  it would have been a disgrace to us. The absence of this
  memorial, or of some memorial, would have marked our blindness,
  our meanness. Harper did not need this monument. We did. Such
  heroic fire as his commemorates itself. But we fellow Canadians
  of Henry Harper needed to show by practical action that we could
  see and reverence the nobility of soul which sent him knowingly
  to his grim death."

The Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier, in accepting the monument on
behalf of the government, spoke as follows:

  "Let me say, sir, in accepting this monument, commemorating,
  as it does, an heroic death, that the government of Canada
  looks upon its acceptance as an honour, and will consider it
  a labour of love to care for it. I enter heartily into the
  spirit which conceived the idea of this splendid testimonial to
  a glorious deed. Harper's act of heroism will ever be an example
  and a lesson to us all. The stranger to our city will pause as
  he passes this monument and wonder what deed called forth its
  erection. He will be told of the noble act of self-sacrifice--of
  a life given in an effort to save another. The citizens of Ottawa
  will ever be proud to honour the memory of Harper, and to look,
  as the government shall look, upon this memorial as a national
  monument in every sense of the word."

His Excellency the governor-general, said:

  "I would like to extend my congratulations on the notable
  addition of this monument to the interest, embellishment and
  idealism of this Federal city. Although I never knew Harper, I
  have learned enough about him to believe that I shall seldom pass
  this monument without being reminded of the example which he
  has bequeathed as a precious legacy. His character and ability
  were such as would have enabled him, had he lived, to win in the
  wide and honourable service of the Crown that distinction which
  is within the reach of all whose greatest delight is to spend
  themselves, their fortunes and their lives in the service of
  their fellow countrymen and their King. He is gone, but who shall
  say that Canada and the world are not richer by his death? His
  character and his example live. I congratulate the sculptor on
  the skill with which this statue of Sir Galahad indicates those
  qualities of energy, fearlessness and service of which young
  Harper was the incarnation; and I hope this statue may be only
  the first of a set of noble companions which, in the course of
  time, will make this street the _Via Sacra_ of the capital.

  "A few years ago I stood at the grave side of another young civil
  servant of the Crown in the Matoppos of Rhodesia, who, as he was
  carried to his last resting place mortally wounded, said: 'Well,
  it is a grand thing to die for the expansion of the Empire'--that
  Empire which, in his mind, as in that of Harper, was synonymous
  with the cause of righteousness. Harper and Hervey, had they
  known each other, would have been bosom friends; they both
  believed in their idea. If they had lived they both would have
  done great things. They have both died, and how would they have
  died better?--for their ideas will not die; no, neither in
  the Matoppos, nor on the banks of the Ottawa, nor in any other
  portion of the British empire, so long as we are loyal to their
  traditions and follow their example."

The regimental band of the Governor-General's Footguards, which had
volunteered its services, played "The Maple Leaf" as the King's
representative unveiled the monument; at the same moment the sun
came out from behind a cloud. The ceremonies were concluded with the
national anthem.

[Illustration: THE SIR GALAHAD MONUMENT AT OTTAWA _erected by the
public to commemorate the Heroism of Henry Albert Harper_.]

It was the writer's privilege to have been Harper's oldest and most
intimate friend. It has seemed to him that he would be unworthy of a
friendship such as existed between them, were he unwilling to share
with others some of the beauty of soul which he knew so well, and of
which Harper's heroic deed was but an expression. For personal reasons,
he has, up to the present, hesitated to disclose aught that has been in
his keeping. The generous appreciation by the public of a single act
appears to him now to warrant a larger confidence. He has ventured,
therefore, to allow those who will, to look in at the windows of the
soul, and see, in its sacred chambers, the secret which was an abiding
presence in a life whose heroism has already received from the nation a
recognition so splendid and impressive.

To those into whose hands this little volume may come, the writer begs
they forget not that it is but a collection of fragments gathered,
after he had gone, from along the path on which he trod. It is not
Harper's life, it is not even a worthy tribute to his character.
What it may contain of thoughts and expressions of his own will be
acceptable as "broken light upon the depth of the unspoken"; for the
rest it will be well, if, as a labour of love, it has done no injustice
to the memory of a friend.

                                                            W. L. M. K.

  _Ottawa, January, 1906._

                        _THE SECRET OF HEROISM_

The quality of a man's love will determine the nature of his deeds;
occasion may present the opportunity, but character alone will record
the experience. To a life given over to the pursuit of the beautiful
and true, the immortal hour only comes when conduct at last rises to
the level of aim, and the ideal finds its fulfilment in the realm of
the actual. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down
his life for his friends."

Few lives have been more earnest or constant in the pursuit of an
ultimate perfection than was Henry Albert Harper's; few have sought
more conscientiously than he to live out existence under the guidance
of lofty aspirations, and in the light of pure ideals. There was
nothing exceptional, save the opportunity, in the chivalrous act which
cost him his life. It was a sublime expression of the hidden beauty of
his real character and soul. Day by day he had been seeking for years
to gain that freedom which is the reward of obedience to the highest
laws of life, and little by little he had been fashioning a character
unfettered and untrammelled by human weaknesses and prejudices, and
strong in the noblest qualities of heart and mind. Galahad cried,
"_If I lose myself, I save myself!_" In the same spirit, and with the
same insight into truth, Harper sought to keep unbroken the vision of
immortality which was his, to be faithful to an ideal of duty, which,
by a seeming loss, he has made incarnate for all time.

By what path the heroic was attained in Harper's life may be traced
from the pages of a diary, in which at intervals he recorded his
thoughts, and from the words he has left in letters to his friends.
Fragmentary as these are, an attempt has been made in the following
pages to weave from them the story of his inner life, in the belief
that its beauty will bring courage and inspiration to many, and in the
knowledge that there is something of inestimable worth in a recorded
experience which reveals the endeavour of a human soul to know and
attain the highest, and to realize its divine capacities amid the
complexities of every-day life.

                        _THE INFLUENCE OF HOME_

Harper was born in the village of Cookstown, Ontario, on December 9,
1873, but most of his childhood was spent at Barrie, one of the most
picturesque and beautifully situated of Canadian inland towns. The
vine-clad lattice alone obstructed the beautiful view from the front
veranda of his father's house across the waters of Kempenfeldt Bay, and
it was to this home and its associations that he was wont to attribute
all that was best in his nature and dearest in his affections. It was
there that the great joys and the great sorrows of his short life had
centred. It was over this Barrie home that the skies were the brightest
to him; and it was there, too, that for a time the clouds had appeared
to return after the rain.

There are few pages anywhere which, in simpler or more tender words,
disclose a heart's love and sorrow, a life's greatest inspiration and
its greatest grief, than those which commence Harper's diary after
it had remained closed for nearly three years. They constitute an
expression of feeling so personal, a record so sacredly tender, that
their publication can be justified only on the ground that they are
among the few passages he has left which reveal the influence of his
home upon his life, an influence which, as the words themselves show,
was the strongest and the sweetest he had known. Just a year before his
death, Harper writes:

  "For nearly three years this book has travelled around with me
  unopened--three years in which I seem to have lived a lifetime.
  They have been filled with satisfaction enough in some ways, and
  with pain enough, too. Seven months ago, when the world seemed
  empty, I was inclined to throw myself upon these pages, but my
  feelings were too much my own, even for that, for, since I last
  wrote here, I have gazed into the darkest depths.

  "Though 'out in the world' in a measure, since I left home for
  college, the little home group in Barrie remained the centre of
  my world. The chief reward of success was the 'well done' from
  the kindest father and most loving mother who ever lived. They
  have gone. After a week's illness father died on April 6, 1900.
  Mother joined him on April 12th. During thirty-six years of
  married life they had been loyal and true to each other, and to
  their duty before God and man. For their children they sacrificed
  personal comfort and social pleasures. Loving sympathy always
  went out to meet us in joy or in pain. They passed away together
  into the hereafter with unflinching eye, and with a nobleness and
  truth of heart which won them the respect of all good men and
  women who knew them in life.

  "I did not reach home until the morning of father's death, and
  when I saw that dear beloved face it wore the calmness and
  pallor of death. That room in which he lay is hallowed. To the
  last, they say, his carelessness of self was evident. A frank,
  straightforward man; his life open as a book; his heart kind,
  with the true love of a Christian. He was not particularly
  demonstrative, but we all knew the breadth and depth of his
  affection and his sympathy. At the end, conscious of it, he gazed
  before him towards the face of God, as one ready to appear before
  the judgment seat. A healthy, honest, wholesome man, he was to me
  father, brother and friend.

  "And my mother. How often has her clinging kiss muttered a prayer
  as I left home, and impressed a welcome as I returned. An heroic
  character, enriched by the depth of a mother's love, was hers.
  When I reached home on that cold, gray day in early spring, she
  lay there sorely stricken with the dread pneumonia which had
  taken my father, but patient, tender, unselfish as ever. To my
  broken attempt at encouragement, she replied: 'Yes, I must try
  and live for you children.' But, as life ebbed and she saw that
  it was not to be, that noble heart, ever resigned to the will of
  God, accepted the inevitable. It seemed that to join him who had
  gone was her dearest wish; without him life, as she lay there
  suffering, must have seemed cold, empty, cheerless. But even this
  she seemed prepared to bear, so that she might keep a home open
  for her children, and endeavour to help them from falling from
  the path of duty. Then came the day when she was told that hope
  of recovery was gone. 'I knew it,' she said. Calling us around
  her, in a voice greatly weakened, she uttered her heart's wish
  in a simple sentence--'I want you all to be good, so that you
  may meet us There.' I am naturally rather disposed to be cold, I
  fear, but in that moment the depth of that mother's love came to
  me as never before, and the sublimity of her faith burst upon me.
  From that day dates a new epoch in my life.

  "To the last her thoughts were of us. Faithfully, unobtrusively,
  but unswervingly, she had throughout life worked and lived that
  we might know truth, and not stray from what she was wont to call
  'the straight and narrow path.'

  "At four o'clock in the morning the end came. How cold the dawn
  of that morning! Without a struggle her soul went to its God.
  How delicate the thread which binds us to eternity! But a short
  time before she was there and knew all that was happening; that
  she was going; and, that we must fight the battle of life, with
  the snares and temptations with which we are beset by our human
  passions and weaknesses. Not a doubt seemed to enter into that
  mind, which had held steadfastly to the eternal truth throughout
  a noble, fearless life. She had run her race, she had kept the
  faith. The sturdy integrity, inherited from her father, and a
  gentle, loving kindness, which probably came from the mother who
  died when she was yet a child, combined to make a character which
  by its sweetness, beauty and nobility, has woven itself into my
  life. Pray God that I may never be unworthy of her memory."

And unworthy of so holy a memory Harper never was. While spared to
him, the love and affection of his father and mother were his greatest
inspiration, and his great reward; taken from him, the remembrance of
their example, and a belief in their continued existence, constituted
an abiding presence, helping him ever to nobler conduct and aim.

Yet, how irreparable this loss was, words cannot tell. Harper could
never bring himself to speak of it without the deepest emotion. What
seemed hardest to him was that his father and mother should have been
taken just when he had hoped to be able to make them fully conscious of
his gratitude.

In a letter written some months after, he says:

  "Great as is my pride in the noble lives of my beloved parents,
  and confident as I am that they will enjoy their reward unto all
  eternity, I find it impossible to get away from the sense of the
  emptiness of the world without them. Their lives were devoted to
  their children, and their children were devoted to them. A kinder
  father, and a more loving mother, never lived. To them we looked
  for congratulation upon any success which fell to our lot and for
  sympathy if our sky were dark. They never failed us. And at the
  moment when we were all comfortably settled in our professions,
  and there was the prospect of a long peaceful life before them,
  they were taken away. Herein lies the chief bitterness of it all.
  But we have the lesson of their lives, and fond memories which we
  can ever cherish."

Some time later, in acknowledging hospitality shown him during a brief
visit in Toronto, he wrote on his return to Ottawa:

  "As I lay in my berth last night, looking out at the beautiful,
  silent, star sprinkled sky, a feeling settled upon me that the
  curtain had just fallen upon one of the happiest days of my life.
  The warmth of your welcome, and the kindly thoughtfulness of
  your every word and action, were appreciated by me the more,
  because I have learned what it is, both to have, and to be
  without, that most happy and most sacred of human associations, a

There is less of intensity of grief, but hardly less of tenderness and
delicacy of feeling, in his words of sympathy with a friend, which,
containing an expression of his own belief, also reveal the continued
influence of his home and its associations on his daily actions, even
after these associations had vastly changed. In a letter written only a
few months before his death, during a short visit to Barrie, the last
which he spent amid the scenes of his youth, he says:

  "And furthermore, I know that you understand that when sorrow
  crosses your path, your sorrow is mine just as is your happiness.
  I know the wrenching of the heart-strings which comes when one
  who is close is taken away, and I feel deeply with you. I can
  only repeat to you the message which you sent to me when all that
  I held dearest on earth seemed to have passed out of it. There
  is no death. Life is eternal and makes towards perfection. When
  those whom we love pass, we are the more linked to that greater,
  larger, deeper spiritual life which is within us and about us,
  but which passes our human comprehension. The very air in which
  I write is filled with a thousand associations which bring me
  into the closest sympathy with those who have passed through the
  Valley of the Shadow. Were you here to-night, I might make myself
  intelligible in a way which I cannot hope to in a letter. As I
  have been sitting here looking out over the bay with which I am
  so familiar, my boyhood and my youth have passed before me, and
  these, as well as the hopes and aspirations of early manhood, are
  so closely associated with the devoted lives which guarded and
  nourished all that was good in me, that I could not recognize
  myself, were I not convinced of their continued existence and
  their living interest in all that I cherish that is worthy. This
  afternoon I stood before the grate where, with you, I spent an
  hour which stands out as a milestone in my life, and to-night I
  thank God that we have been enabled to accomplish something of
  what we then contemplated, and that we have before us opportunity
  of usefulness beyond what we could have imagined as we stood
  there upon the threshold of life. The very atmosphere of this
  dear old place is sacred to me through the associations which
  float through my mind as I breathe it. My visit here has been
  like a pause in a quiet and familiar eddy in the stream of life,
  and I feel that it has done me good. It has strengthened me in my
  resolutions, and has enabled me to see more clearly."

It is rarely, if ever, that men, especially young men, stop to estimate
the influences which are the most potent in their lives, and it is
rarer still, in seeking this estimate, that they become conscious, with
any true degree of proportion, of the extent to which home, as compared
with other influences, has contributed to the result. It was not so
with Harper. He honoured his father and his mother, and he was wont to
attribute to what he inherited by birth, by training, and by example
from them, all that made for what was worthiest and best in his life.

                          _COLLEGE AND AFTER_

Colleges and universities afford the opportunity for the attainment
of a measure of self-knowledge, self-reliance and self-development,
which in the home is often apt to come too slowly, and, learned at
first hand with the world, is bought frequently at the price of an
experience which dwarfs, if it does not altogether destroy, some
of the finer fruits of those essential qualities of manhood. It is
not what is gained in knowledge of books, but in knowledge of self,
of limitations and powers and capacities; in what is acquired of
habits of self-discipline and application, of methods of thought and
research, that a college or university renders its truest service to
its students; as it is by the love of truth and learning which it
instils, rather than by the honours and degrees which it confers, that
a university puts its stamp upon the graduates it sends out into the

It may be that for many men four years of undergraduate life are not
sufficient to make a college impress deep, or, to appearances, lasting;
but if in any measure it is real, that influence must tell, not only
on the years immediately succeeding, but through the whole of life.
The first fruits of a college education are more likely to be revealed
in the attitude of mind towards the problems of life, as these present
themselves when academic halls are vacated, than in any immediate
accomplishment. A consciousness of capacity without opportunity may be,
and is too often, the first inheritance of many a man, whose intellect
has been stimulated and whose zeal has been intensified by association
with his fellows in the numerous relationships which undergraduate life
affords, but who finds in the world a less ordered and less congenial
arrangement. Probably for most men, the years immediately following
the attainment of their academic or professional degrees are the most
critical, if not also the most painful, years of their lives.

To this phase of post-graduate experience Harper's life was no
exception, though undergraduate days were enjoyed by him to the full.
In the summer of 1891, at the age of seventeen, he matriculated at
the University of Toronto, from the Barrie Collegiate Institute,
and he graduated from the university in June, 1895. He was, during
the last three years of his undergraduate course, an honour student
in the department of Political Science, and the class lists show
that in the work of this department, especially in the subjects of
political economy and political philosophy, he held a high place. His
contemporaries at the university will always remember him as a man who
entered in a whole-hearted way into what may be spoken of as the larger
life of the university. He was a prominent member of the Literary and
Scientific Society, and of his class society, and was always certain to
be found an active participant in those events or movements of general
interest with which undergraduate life at a large university abounds.
While he was fond of books and might have been termed, at least during
the latter half of each year, a conscientious student, it is doubtful
if he did not get quite as much as, or more, out of association with
his fellows, and from sharing in the spontaneous life of the college,
than he did from the lecture room. A characteristic which distinguished
him was a readiness to carry on with enthusiasm whatever he undertook,
and this, combined with a nature intensely loyal to cause or friend,
made him a strong man among men, and one whose support was sought
because it could be counted upon. On the whole his disposition was
social rather than individual, and his interests were diversified
rather than particular. He was saved from the possible inimical effects
of such a nature by an earnestness of purpose which kept him true to
his responsibilities, while there can be little doubt that from it, in
the broadening of his sympathies and in the understanding of men and
their ways, he gained much which was of infinite service to him in
after years.

Measured by the standard of growth already hinted at, Harper may
be said to have left the university with a consciousness that he
was fitted by talent and inclination for work in some branch of the
so-called higher professions, that it was in connection with the
general, rather than the more exclusive, interests of society that
his energies would find their freest play, and that not by theories,
but by men, he could hope to be permanently attracted. He had already
learned that he was capable of serious and sustained effort, and likely
to find in work a satisfaction of his best desires; and he must have
known that in his nature were possibilities of the noblest expressions
of disinterested action. It was natural, therefore, that having made
no definite choice of a future profession at the time of graduation,
and having engaged temporarily in agency work which was not to his
liking, and towards which from the start he had not entertained any
serious intentions, he should have found much that tried his patience
severely, and at times caused him to experience periods of the most
genuine depression. Fruitless attempts to obtain a start in journalism
added for a while to his discouragements, so that the year and a half
which followed graduation, though characterized by anything other than
neglect or indifference, and, as a matter of fact, made the occasion
of an opportunity for increased reading and the preparation of a
thesis which secured him a Master's degree from the university, was
nevertheless, so far as he could see at the time, to be remembered as
of adversity rather than as of advance. In reality it was a testing
time, and it served to prove the man.

In the pages of the journal which Harper commenced shortly after
graduation, it is possible to discern the attitude of mind which he
had towards the problem of life, as he thus encountered it upon the
threshold. Revealing as they do the qualities of inherent worth in
him who wrote them, these pages are deserving of more than passing
reference. Two characteristics they clearly disclose, a fearless
integrity of heart and mind, and a disposition to philosophize,
underlying each of which is a constant purpose of self-improvement, and
a more than accepted belief in a definite moral order, and the ultimate
triumph of right. Unconsciously he summed up the whole in the first
paragraph he wrote:

  "I am writing this record of my thoughts and actions in order
  that I may be better able to understand myself; to improve in
  that wherein I find myself wanting, and that some day I may be
  able to look back and find a rule of development or perhaps of
  life, with its assistance. I shall endeavour to be at least
  honest with myself, and hope that the use of this book may help
  me occasionally, to sever myself mentally from the associations
  of the world and retire within myself. My hope is that some day I
  may be able to become acquainted with my own individuality, and
  discover what is the first essential and object of my existence.

  "I have not as yet settled upon a course in life. Several
  weapons lie before me which might be of use in the conflict
  with the world, and with all of which I feel that I might
  soon familiarize myself. Which will enable me to achieve the
  greatest success? And by what standard shall I measure that
  success so as to discover whether it is real and after all worth
  striving for? Shall it be law, the ministry, a business career,
  or journalism, or what? At one time I lean in one direction,
  and again in another. The result is an unsettled frame of mind
  which cannot be healthy, and which compels me to be constantly
  before the bar of my own judgment. I find that the old idea
  of 'individual aptitude' means less than I formerly believed.
  One finds many specialized avocations before one, and it is a
  question of fashioning one's self to suit one of them. Whether
  it be that the chosen profession does not employ all one's
  faculties, or requires more than one possesses, a certain amount
  of dissatisfaction is, I think, bound to result. It is necessary
  that a man be a philosopher, as well as a lawyer, or a carpenter,
  as the case may be, if he is to be happy. I flatter myself that
  I have a fair education (although I regret that I have not drawn
  from it as much as I might and should have), and some slight
  knowledge of men and their ways, but my choice is limited to
  those callings which do not require a considerable initial
  capital. At the moment my leanings are towards journalism as most
  likely to give me self-satisfaction, and to aid me in the study
  of mankind--man."

And again,

  "As to myself, during the past week or two, the spirit of unrest,
  to which I have referred as characteristic of my mind, has been
  intensified in proportion as I have withdrawn myself more and
  more from the insurance business. One thought is ever staring me
  in the face. It is the question which has been before me for so
  long. What are you going to do? I shall certainly have to 'make a
  break' before long, since the state of affairs is preying upon my
  mind and upon my ambition and self-esteem. To-night we have some
  friends coming in, a minister from the country and his wife. They
  will probably ask me what am I going to do? I am sick of that

And on the first of January, 1897,

  "For over three months I have not made a single entry in this
  book, and this for the reason that I have had little that is
  hopeful or pleasant to write about. I have been in constant
  dread of the effect upon my mind of the forced inactivity to
  which I am subject, for the uncongenial work at which I have been
  plodding away has been of little use as an intellectual training.
  At times, encouraged by the appreciation which I have been able
  to give to some of the sublime thoughts of master-minds, or by
  the words of such friends as ----, I have been quite hopeful as
  to my future usefulness, but on both my thoughts and my humours,
  I can see the fatal traces of repeated disappointments. Of
  course the life that I have been living has not been without its
  advantages. Some of many too hastily conceived ideas have been
  swept away, and withal, sympathies have been aroused within me
  which might never have come to me under other circumstances.
  Furthermore, the fact that the time when I must enter the
  struggle for existence on my own behalf has been postponed, has
  led me to think less and less of the mean dishonest methods which
  are so generally adopted by some of our so-called successful men
  and used as a means of reaching their petty successes. The fact
  that these opinions had been forced upon me, may, it is true,
  prevent me from ever being what the world considers a successful
  man, but if the moral stamina is within me I hope they will
  enable me to realize the high ideal of my existence.

  "But now as to the thoughts which the New Year brings with it.
  Last night as I listened to the tolling of the midnight bell at
  the Church of England, as it rang out the old year and rang in
  the new, the future was none too encouraging to me. It was with a
  feeling of bitterness that I took out a note-book and wrote the
  words, 'January 1, 1897, and still on the market.' But as I sit
  now and gaze into the future, I think I was a little unfair. I
  have been filling a position of usefulness to a degree. I do not
  think I have lost in moral force, while I think I have gained in
  knowledge and love of my fellow men; while the fact that I have
  been compelled to drop some ideas which I have held has proven to
  me both that my tendency is towards an honest desire for truth,
  and that I have still much to learn. I look forward to the coming
  year with hope, although I have still much of the bitter feeling
  which has been preying upon me all year, causing me many wakeful
  nights and forcing me to call out at times when the feeling was
  intensified, that, with Burke, mine was a case of '_Nitor in

  "One thing more. Although for years my mind has had a decidedly
  sceptical tone in matters of religion, I feel that in the
  past year I have come more into sympathy with the work of our
  religious bodies. This is no doubt largely due to a sympathy
  with the ends which they have in view, but probably, also, in
  great measure to my growing belief in God, although my idea of
  the Deity is more correctly expressed in the words of Matthew
  Arnold than in some of the accepted creeds. For all these things
  I feel grateful, and my greatest hope as I sat in the church
  during the first moments of the New Year was--my greatest hope as
  I write these words is, that I may have the inclination and the
  power to cut off from my life those things which tend to make it
  less beautiful, less good, and less useful, and that, if living
  when the bells toll in the New Year of 1898, I may be able to
  recognize in myself a better, a stronger and a purer man."

Though it has been left to others to trace through the pages of his
diary the rule of development and of life therein disclosed, it will
hardly be said that the first hope expressed was denied, and that
Harper did not realize, even in the brief day he was allowed, "the
first essential and object of his existence."

                           _THE DAY'S WORK_

For some time before opportunity came to engage in journalism, Harper
had quite made up his mind that this was the profession which he could
follow with most satisfaction to himself, and greatest good to others,
and he sought every means to secure a connection with a newspaper
in one of the cities. "It would seem," he writes, after some months
of searching, "that newspaper work is like most other things--it is
difficult to get a start at. My experience is that it is exceptionally
so. I have accepted the disappointment philosophically, and I am trying
to make a good use of my time until an opening presents itself, and
I am keeping my eyes open for one." At last, in February of 1897, a
temporary vacancy on the staff of the London _Advertiser_ afforded
an opening, and though he had promise of employment for not more
than a few weeks, and knew for a certainty that it could not extend
beyond a month or two at the most, he gladly seized the opportunity.
There was a chance, at least, to test the field and to prove himself.
He accordingly left Barrie for London to begin as a reporter on the
_Advertiser_, and from that time, for the remainder of his life, there
were to be found no moments of "forced inactivity," or "comparative
idleness," but the whole was one unbroken stretch of the most tireless
putting forth of energy, the most continuous and sustained activity and

The weeks on the _Advertiser_ were followed by a few months on the
London _News_. In October, 1897, an opening came on the Toronto _Mail
and Empire_, and Harper joined the staff of that journal. In London,
his duties had been those of a general reporter; in Toronto, they were
at first the same, though with larger opportunities. His abilities,
however, caused him soon to be singled out for the larger and more
special assignments, and in this way he was brought into active touch
with two important branches of public affairs. As city hall reporter he
had to do for a time with municipal politics and administration, and,
as reporter of the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario,
he was brought into similar relationship with provincial affairs.
An appointment on the staff of the Montreal _Herald_ in February,
1899, gave him the opportunity of still wider experience and further
advancement. He was part of the time the city editor of that daily, and
part of the time its representative and correspondent at Ottawa. Both
positions afforded him opportunity of a closer intimacy with the public
affairs of the Dominion, and as, throughout his entire connection
with the _Herald_, he was a contributor to its editorial columns, he
had commenced to help at least to shape and direct public opinion in
matters of national concern.

After the establishment of the Department of Labour by the Dominion
government in the summer of 1900, Harper, in November of that year,
severed his connection with the _Herald_ to accept the position of
associate editor of the _Labour Gazette_. The department had just been
created as a new department of the government, with the _Gazette_ as
its official journal. Its policy had still to be shaped; its usefulness
to be proved. It was in part the strong bond of friendship existing
between Harper and his friend, the deputy minister of the department,
in part the opportunity of cooperation in a work undertaken primarily
on behalf of the industrial classes of Canada, and which he believed
might be made of the greatest service to the country as a whole,
that caused him to terminate his then promising career in outside
journalism, and to share with his friend the fortunes of the civil
service in a work to which they were both prepared to devote their
lives. In addition to being engaged on the _Gazette_, Harper actively
cooperated in the management and administration of the affairs of the
department, and acted as the deputy minister of the department when
the latter was absent on official duties elsewhere. He was acting as
deputy minister of labour at the time of his death.

During the entire period he was engaged in journalism, Harper had not,
with the exception of a brief vacation of one or two weeks, which
he devoted in part to work of another kind, a single break of any
appreciable duration in the round of continuous work. The time for
vacation, with the exception mentioned, came, in every instance, just
as a new affiliation was formed, and new duties, instead of a temporary
respite from old ones, were taken on. It is doubtful, indeed, if so
continuous a strain could have been so successfully borne, had it not
been for the period of reflection which preceded it, the joy which he
found in his work, and the purpose which he had at heart.

  "I start," he wrote, on February 20, a few days before his
  departure from Barrie to London, "under favourable auspices, and
  I intend to make my time tell for good so far as it is in my
  power. Perhaps after all it has been best for me, this year of
  comparative idleness. It has at least enabled me to form certain
  sober views of life, which might not have come until too late,
  had I been carried from the first on the crest of fortune's wave."

And upon his arrival at London:

  "On this, the evening before my first serious association with
  my chosen profession, let me register the resolution which I
  promised in a letter to dear old ---- last Sunday. I hope and
  trust that I may hereafter be able to subdue whatever weakness
  there is in my character, and there is much. I am starting here
  under favourable auspices. May I not betray the trust, and may I
  leave this community better for my influence during my sojourn in

After little more than a month's experience he wrote again as follows:

  "I have had no cause to regret my choice of a profession. I begin
  to feel the tremendous power wielded by the press in formulating
  public opinion, and am in a position to build up, by reflection
  upon what it is, a conception of what a newspaper should be, all
  of which I trust will enable me, when the time comes, to do
  my share in furthering the highest interests of the State and
  mankind in general. I have come to see where the dangers which
  surround the young newspaper man lie, and am endeavouring to keep
  myself free from their influence."

Leaving London in October, '97, he measured his success and services in
a few brief words:

  "My time here has not been lost, and, while I have fallen far
  short of what I might have done, still I think that I leave the
  city rather better than worse for my visit."

Measuring development by the opportunity which anniversaries afford, he
had, after a year's experience, reason to feel that progress had been
made, while at the same time he was fully conscious of what remained to
be done.

  "When I look at myself now and what I was on March 1, 1897, when
  I went to London to serve my apprenticeship at daily newspaper
  work, I can scarcely recognize the same individual. Carelessness,
  thoughtlessness and love of pleasure, I see all along the line;
  but I feel that I have gained more than I have lost, and I have
  learned that the only road to success is work, and close, careful
  study. I have done much that I should not have done, I have
  omitted much, very much, that I ought to have done. I see it and
  shall try and do better."

A year later, the same earnest spirit, realizing its limitations, its
responsibilities and its opportunities, is revealed in a letter written
from the press gallery of the House of Commons at Ottawa. It refers
to his newly formed connection with the _Herald_, and is a true and
characteristic self-estimate and confession.

  "Regarding the change--it is one of great moment to me. Here at
  the very centre of the life of the Dominion, I see all about
  me means of acquiring the knowledge and exerting the influence
  which should make my life a useful one, and that, I assure you
  again, is my chief aim. I am still a student, of course, and I am
  made conscious of the fact from the character of the men with
  whom I am associated, for they are all men of years, experience
  and force of character. I appreciate the fact that I am still in
  tutelage, and the training here I regard simply as preparatory
  to something else--what that something else may be remains to be

  "My own rule, latterly, has been to follow the course which
  promises to be best in the long run, for, while not neglecting
  the present, men of our years must remember that life is real,
  and that we must arm ourselves for the struggle on the hither
  side of thirty."

Harper was, at the time, twenty-five years of age.


"That in companionship with and close study of Nature, who 'neither
hastens nor rests' but unquestioningly conforms to the order laid down
by the Creator, there lies a potent means of enrichment of character,
and an important medium of culture, I am thoroughly convinced." From
these words of Harper's diary we are enabled to gather with what degree
of insight, and to what purpose, he sought the woods and the fields,
and the freedom of "God's out of doors" whenever opportunity permitted.
From his early boyhood, few enjoyments brought him the same measure of
delight as the afternoon excursions or camping expeditions which took
him with other boys, or with his father, across the bay at Barrie, to
explore the creeks and unfrequented spots away from the haunts of men.
When after graduation his temporary employment led him for a time into
the bleak and rugged parts of Northern Ontario, he found an enjoyment
and source of instruction in this first hand contact with primitive
conditions, which, to his feelings, was the one compensation in the
pursuit of an otherwise uncongenial task. If a friend were visiting him
at his home in the summer time he was not at rest till they were off
together with horse or stick into the country, or out with canoe or
boat on the waters of the bay; and if it were winter it was still to be
out in the open, either on skates or in a sleigh, or for one of those
long tramps through the snow so invigorating and health-giving at that
season of the year. When his work permitted a choice being made between
the country and the city, he chose the former as a place of residence,
though early rising and much journeying were necessitated thereby.

The summer of 1901 was spent in this way at Kingsmere in the province
of Quebec, a more beautiful spot than which there is not to be found
along the whole range of the Laurentian hills. It is a distance by road
of twelve miles from the capital, eight of which can be covered by
rail. Harper's real sense of freedom began when, after a day's work in
town, that eight miles of travelling was at an end, and the chance came
for a four mile walk across fields, through the woods and along the
country roads, or for a ride upon his wheel or by stage. Then came the
evenings with their glorious sunsets, and the walks and talks in the
twilight, and then night with its unbroken panoply of star-lit sky.

It is, perhaps, impossible to convey, save to those who have known the
experience, any conception of what a constant association of this kind
with Nature really means. It proves, to use Harper's own words, "how
beauty, grandeur, sublimity and purity in God's world, find a ready
response in the human heart unfettered." Yet it is this perception of
God, this communion of soul between the creature and the Creator as He
is revealed in Nature, that is the conscious or unconscious secret of
all the refreshment and joy which comes from a contact of this kind.
Some natures are more susceptible to this kind of revelation than
others. Harper's nature was one that could share and did share it to
the full.

A few paragraphs from his diary may serve to show how real was the
"response" of which he spoke between the world of nature and his
own heart, and how sweetly sensitive to even the most delicate of
impressions, his soul became when under this favouring influence.

Having climbed one Sunday morning to the top of the mountain at
Kingsmere, to find after a hard week's work that rest which is the
truest reward of toil, he gave himself up for a little to recording
some of the enjoyments of the place and the hour. He writes:

  "Here I am having church all by myself in this majestically
  beautiful spot. It was a hot climb, for it is a sweltering
  morning, but I am amply repaid. I had a five minutes'
  conversation with a red squirrel on the way up the mountain. He
  was a little nervous at first, but became reassured, climbed down
  the tree trunk until he was ten feet from me, and looked me in
  the face steadily as I prattled away to him. The little fellow
  felt like myself, he could not imagine vicious intentions in such
  a place. A delightful breeze is making music in the tree-tops,
  a bird with a clear yet sympathetic note, I can't describe the
  note, and I don't know the name of the bird, is leading in a
  medley of wood sounds infinitely refreshing after a hard week's

  "The thought of the past week has caused me to look up for a
  moment to take another glance at the capital, which stands out
  clearly in the bright sunshine, though the lines of the buildings
  are softened by a blue white summer haze, sufficiently marked to
  give the effect of distance. If men could only get to a mountain
  occasionally and look down upon the world in which they live and
  move and have their being, there would be less dilettantism, less
  worship of forms, institutions, baubles and lath and plaster.
  The foot-hills, when last I saw them from here, were rich in
  the full colour of maturity. To-day they are strong in the deep
  refreshing green of youth. They are happy. Everything about me is
  happy, and I thank God for it all."

Recording the events of a day on a short trip taken in the spring of
the year to the city of Quebec and points of interest in that vicinity,
he writes:

  "This day was easily the best of our trip. In a few minutes we
  were away from civilization, and started our climb, with the
  assistance of two locomotives, up the mountains. At every turn
  some new beauty burst upon us. First, it was a cloud capped range
  of hills, then a quaint whitewashed village, then a laughing
  mountain stream, then a tree-encircled, hill-girt lake, then a
  rushing river, then a quiet wood, then a deep shadowy valley,
  then a burst of sun on the new-leafed trees, until one felt
  one's self getting away forever from the pettiness of the world.
  Shortly after midday we swung across the bridge at Grand' Mère,
  and had a capital view of the falls which have been turned to
  practical use by the Laurentide Pulp Company, and, about three
  o'clock, arrived at Shawenegan Falls, our objective point. We
  lunched at the Cascade Inn, a picturesque summer hotel on a
  hilltop, and, guided by a staff of engineers, visited the works
  of the Shawenegan Falls Power Company which I found extremely
  interesting. All this was as nothing, however, compared with
  the marvellous scene which burst upon us when we turned a spur
  of the hill and came out at the foot of the roaring, raging
  cataract. Down a steep, narrow, boulder-strewn gorge, rushed the
  mighty river, struggling, tumbling, roaring, throwing itself
  into the air, and shooting forward in huge mountains of surging
  foam or clouds of sunlit spray. I could feel my breast heave in
  sympathy with the great struggle that was going forward, and my
  whole being kindle with the beauty and power of it all. Nowhere
  have I seen anything that can rival that magnificent spectacle.
  My nature seemed touched to its depths, and I found myself in
  immediate sympathy with the Indians who saw in these prodigious
  efforts of Nature, in the presence of which man's littleness is
  so apparent, the manifestations of the work of the Great Spirit.
  As we wound our way through the mountains one had a feeling that,
  once stripped of its forest wealth, this district would be a
  lonely wilderness so far as practical utility was concerned. As I
  gazed into the raging torrent, I felt that it was worth a whole
  province of desolation to have that grand, sublime, soul purging
  sight. After gazing long and earnestly into the mighty maelstrom,
  I raised my eyes to the tree clad mountains around, rich in the
  fresh foliage of spring, and furrowed with deep shadowy glens.
  I felt that the world was indeed grand, beautiful, that no man
  could stand where I stood without feeling that he had a soul.

  "And as our train wound its way homeward towards a sublimely
  beautiful sunset, behind the glorious tumbled-together hills, the
  scene of loveliness was set in my mind and in my heart in deep
  rich tints of crimson and gold. That day was one of the happiest
  in my life. I cannot attempt to describe what I saw in words. All
  I can do is to record something of the impression. It was soul

Later in the year Harper visited the Maritime Provinces with members of
the Canadian Press Association on their annual excursion. His account
of the trip contains much that is full of interest, and something in
the way of recorded observation which might surprise those who had had
the same opportunities, or had visited simultaneously these places and
participated in the same events. Two brief paragraphs may suffice to
further illustrate how he was wont to be influenced by scenes of great
natural beauty, and in what regard, relative to other things, he was
accustomed to hold them. Speaking of the Montmorency Falls he says:

  "At the Montmorency Falls we spent a very happy hour. We decided
  to scramble up the cliff side, instead of taking the steps. At
  the top we had a splendid view of the falls which impressed me
  differently from any I had seen. The volume of the river is
  not great, but it descends from a giddy height, throwing out a
  great cloud of white spray, peaceful and beautiful. To me the
  message it conveyed was of chastity and purity, like a beautiful,
  faithful woman, who had gone through the world to a white age,
  unspotted and unstained. The great semicircular basin beneath
  seemed wrought by Nature to give full effect to the beautiful
  work of the Creator."

And referring to the evening of the same day, after returning to
Quebec, he says:

  "After dinner ---- and I gave up a trip to a summer theatre for
  a stroll on the terrace before the Château Frontenac. It was a
  night not soon to be forgotten. The moon's rays, softened by a
  faint film of the most delicate of clouds, fell quietly about
  us, and, from the dancing waves far below, came the signal bells
  of steamers and the distant calls of boatmen. I can recall few
  nights to rival it. The world seemed more kind, and my own work
  in it more clear and possible, as we sat there and gazed into
  the quiet night, which wore an ethereal, fairy-land air about
  it, pure and inspiring. Most of our fellows were off 'seeing'
  the city, but none of them could have had half the pleasure that
  was ours. Few things in the world could have been more beautiful
  than that night out there on the terrace, under the frowning guns
  of the hard war citadel, and above the moon-bathed waters of the
  grand old St. Lawrence. I felt my heart throb as I thought that
  this noble river was the gateway to Canada, the land which gave
  me birth, and which I am learning to love more and more dearly as
  years roll by."


In books, as in nature, Harper found companionship and instruction,
and the selection was as carefully made, and the appreciation of the
beautiful and true as keen and delicate, in the one case as in the
other. It was a distinguishing mark of his reading that he chose, for
the most part, only such works as were likely to be productive of
intellectual or moral growth; he read little, however, for the sake of
mere entertainment, and he was less inclined to seek recreation with a
book than in other ways.

At the university his reading was, for the most part, of the books
prescribed by the college curriculum, with supplementary reading along
the lines it suggested, and some slight addition of current fiction and
standard works in poetry and prose. For a time, after entering upon
journalism, he gave himself up so entirely to its demands that he may
be said to have dropped books altogether, and to have substituted for
their reading a careful perusal of the daily press, and an occasional
survey of current magazines and other periodicals. The habit thus
formed remained constantly with him, and made him a careful observer of
events, and well informed on the main issues and questions of the day.
Though he had the mind of a student and a scholar, his habits, as has
already been hinted, were not of the kind which students are popularly
supposed to have. His temperament was versatile, his nature active,
he was impatient of too detailed or continuous research, and was more
interested in living men and current affairs than in documentary
records of any kind. Yet he was by no means blind to the fact, which
unfortunately many public men are, that to be of real service to any
cause, a man's intellectual as well as his physical powers must be
stimulated and strengthened by sustenance of the proper sort, and that,
except through inborn genius of the rarest kind, a man cannot be saved
from intellectual sterility, unless, to more than a limited degree, he
familiarizes himself with the best thought of the strongest minds.

The books with which Harper sought to become most familiar were the
works of writers whose intellectual preeminence was undoubted, and
whose main concern, though they viewed it from many and frequently
different standpoints, was the problem of existence, the meaning and
the duties of life. Of this class, Carlyle, Matthew Arnold, Emerson,
Tennyson, and, among present day writers, Hamilton Wright Mabie, were
the ones to whose works his spare hours were chiefly devoted during
his last years. It would be difficult to know from which of these
authors he gained the most; that he was strongly influenced by all
is beyond question, though this influence was one rather of clearer
definition and understanding of his own beliefs and convictions, than
of conversion to other and different views. Of what, as a teacher,
literature contributed, something may be gleaned from the pages
containing his views on present day problems and matters of religion.
In the present chapter it is of the companionable enjoyment derived
from this source, consciously sought and cultivated as a means to
the enrichment of life, that it is desired to give a sympathetic

The winter of 1900-01 was made exceptionally profitable through the
opportunities of reading which many of its evenings and Sundays
afforded. Harper and his friend had lodgings in common, and his diary
is full of mention of the evenings they spent together in company with
books, from which each in turn read aloud to the other, and which were
laid aside only that a deeper searching of the heart might follow,
accompanied by pledges of mutual loyalty and resolve, long after the
embers had burned out upon the hearth, and all things were in the
sacred keeping of the night. Did not the personal references which
these accounts contain preclude their publication, opportunity might
be given of looking in upon the best that this world has to offer, the
soul communion of friend with friend. One or two passages relating to
evenings not dissimilar, though spent with less intimate friends, will
suggest, to those who read them, with what profit an evening might have
been shared with him by those who knew and appreciated his genuine self
aright, and what measure of inspiration in turn was accorded to him by
the conversation and views of others, and by the writings of master

Of the chance happening in of a friend, he writes:

  "I had finished reading Matthew Arnold's criticism of Gray when
  L---- came in and spent the evening with me. I read Gray's
  _Elegy_, _The Bard_ and some other extracts, in order to make
  good Matthew Arnold's judgment. Then we talked of men of genius
  and their lives, and L---- spoke of their unhappiness and want of
  appreciation. I took the ground that this unhappiness was often
  more apparent than real; that the greatest happiness in sensation
  was that of the soul satisfaction which must come with the
  beautiful expression of a great truth; that no great work came by
  chance, but rather that the thought was first real and vital to
  the artist; that however much, humanly, he might feel the want
  of appreciation and physical satisfaction, his pleasure must be
  ecstatic at finding an expression for his best self, his inner

    "'_These demand not that the things without them_
    _Yield them love, amusement, sympathy._'

  "Just as theirs is the great happiness, so theirs is the great
  sorrow, for sorrow to be expressed in such form must first be
  appreciated, felt.

  "From this we drifted to Kipling and imperialism, my contribution
  being that Kipling was a great imperialist, that of those who
  were urging forward the British empire, he was one of the most
  enlightened, one of the most clear seeing; that his anxiety
  for the empire's future was as much cosmopolitan as British,
  having faith in the Anglo-Saxon ideal. In support of this latter
  contention I cited the _White Man's Burden_, which I think was
  primarily designed for the American people.

  "Then to the woes of Ireland and her future. I expressed disgust
  with the methods of such men as ----, who are trying to fan the
  flame of hatred to England, a flame justly enough started by the
  long years of oppression, but which must be smothered if Ireland
  is to progress, for I can see only one way for her healthy
  development,--as part of the British empire, the great civilizing
  and evangelizing power of the world.

  "I read some of Moore's poems to illustrate my views of the
  beauty and richness of the Irish nature, and its possibilities
  when fairly treated. We closed our evening by reading a passage
  from _Great Books as Life Teachers_, in the chapter on _Ruskin's
  Seven Lamps of Architecture_, to show that true liberty consists
  in obedience to law--true law. 'Nature loves paradoxes, and
  this is her chiefest paradox--he who stoops to wear the yoke
  of law becomes the child of liberty, while he who will be free
  from God's law, wears a ball and chain through all his years.
  Philosophy reaches its highest fruition in Christ's principle,
  "Love is the fulfillment of the law."'"

Of an evening spent with friends, he says:

  "To-night we spent a pleasant evening, enjoying music and
  reading. Mrs. J----, whose whole life seems to be poetry and
  music combined, rendered several brilliant selections on the
  piano, conveying to me a conception of beautiful thoughts playing
  about the crests of moonlit waves, after which R---- and I read
  several of Matthew Arnold's poems. I have grown to like Matthew
  Arnold more and more. His philosophy, the pursuit of perfection,
  of sweetness and light, and the sweeping away of viciousness,
  has always influenced me strongly since I first read _Culture
  and Anarchy_ some years ago. But I find in him more and more the
  noble high minded man as I proceed. I read _The Buried Life_ and
  _Rugby Chapel_ among other things. The latter has always been a
  favourite of mine, pointing, as it does, a noble useful view of
  human duty, as in the lines--

    "'_But thou would'st not alone_
     _Be saved, my father! alone_
     _Conquer and come to thy goal,_
     _Leaving the rest in the wild._'

  "_The Buried Life_ seems to me one of the most beautiful, hopeful
  and inspiring poems I have ever read--the thought that man's
  life and development goes on, and that his real life is realized
  despite the spoiling of himself which he does continuously in the
  meaningless follies of his daily round.

    "'_Fate . . ._
     _Bade through the deep recesses of our breast_
     _The unregarded river of our life_
     _Pursue with indiscernible flow its way;_
     _And that we should not see_
     _The buried stream, and seem to be_
     _Eddying at large in blind uncertainty,_
     _Though driving on with it eternally._'

  "And then how--

    "'_. . . often, in the world's most crowded streets,_
     _But often, in the din of strife,_
     _There rises an unspeakable desire_
     _After the knowledge of our buried life._'

  "The room where we sat before a grate fire seemed filled with the
  thought of the noble man who penned the poem, and the evening was
  a most enjoyable one."

Harper's was a nature quick to respond to the beautiful and true
wherever found, whether in prose or verse, in music or painting, or in
the actions of daily life. He was, moreover, intensely sympathetic,
and what he read or saw always impressed, and sometimes affected, him
deeply. He would often rise from the reading of a beautiful poem, or
the story of some heroic human effort, with eyes filled and voice
completely overcome, and then, as a means of gaining relief, and at the
same time of giving expression to his feelings, would pen in a single
sentence or two the thought that was most in his mind at the time.

Such little entries as the following are a characteristic feature of
his diary, and reveal his sympathetic appreciation of what he read, and
of the subject treated:

  "To-night I read the sad story of Keats' life. How sad it is to
  see so promising a man pass so soon! How admirably he declared a
  great truth when he said,

    "'_"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"--that is all_
     _Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know._'"

       *       *       *       *       *

  "To-night I read over again Lanier's _A Ballad of Trees and the
  Master_, which, I think, most beautiful. The poem appealed to me
  strongly as illustrating the subduing calm of the woods. Before
  going to bed I read Ward's biography of Lanier, a story of the
  heroic struggle of a soul steeped in music and high purpose."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "In the afternoon I read Matthew Arnold's Essay on Shelley,
  whose life was a strange mixture of genius and weakness. But
  for his poetry his weakness would have made him detestable. But
  for his weakness his poetical genius might have made him one of
  the most beautiful of all our authors. As he is, he is one of
  those strange paradoxes who give rise to speculation as to the
  necessary qualities of genius. Much can be forgiven in one who
  has created the ode, _To a Skylark_ and _The Sensitive Plant_."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Matthew Arnold seems to me above all a critic, clear, impartial,
  appreciative, kindly, bravely severe, when this is necessary to
  do justice. In what he says in these Essays on Criticism, one
  feels how sad it is that noble work is marred by a something
  wanting; half results because of the want of something,--'many
  are called, few chosen.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Next, of the features of the fortnight, was the completion
  of _The Idylls of the King_, from which I have drawn much
  healthy inspiration. We read _Pelleas and Ettarre_, _The Last
  Tournament_, _Guinevere_ and _The Passing of Arthur_. At the
  close I was struck by the wonderful way in which the truth of the

    "'_It is the little rift within the lute,_
     _That by and by will make the music mute,_
     _And ever widening slowly silence all,_'--

  was unfolded. Even that beautifully conceived court, with its
  noble King, its high ideals and its battle-tried knights, went
  to utter ruin through the example of one sin. Another thing
  which struck me was that Tennyson, like others, shows that the
  deadliest enemy is the Judas. The most cherished knight and
  beloved Queen poisoned the court by betraying friend and husband.
  But Tennyson holds out the beautiful hope of the thief upon the
  cross. Lancelot was allowed to die a holy man; and Guinevere, by
  true repentance and goodly works, was able to purge her soul so
  as to be prepared for the reunion hereafter. The gentle teaching
  of the poem is that we must be swayed by high resolves and noble

    "'_We needs must love the highest when we see it,
     Not Lancelot, nor another._'

  "My admiration for the poem increased towards the close. The
  delicate portrayal of character, and of utter pain and remorse in
  _Guinevere_, and the beautiful imagery of _The Passing of Arthur_
  are sublime--

    "'_From the great deep to the great deep he goes._'"

       *       *       *       *       *

  "To-day R---- and I read several chapters of _Past and Present_.
  Grand, bluff, sturdy old Carlyle is becoming a reality to me. In
  his chapters leading up to the selection of Samson as Abbot of
  St. Edmundsbury, he throws much light upon a really important
  view of public policy, how necessary it is to select the best as
  Governor, and how that best is to be recognized and selected.
  Carlyle I find to be healthy, wholesome and full of moral fibre."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Even to the outcry against the fleeting nature of our
  impressions of beauty, and, for a time, satisfying, comes an
  answer in the story of Shelley's _Sensitive Plant_. The author
  concludes the beautiful yet sad story by saying:

    _"'I dare not guess; but in this life_
    _Of error, ignorance, and strife,_
    _Where nothing is, but all things seem,_
    _And we the shadows of the dream,_

    "'_It is a modest creed, and yet_
    _Pleasant if one considers it,_
    _To own that death itself must be,_
    _Like all the rest, a mockery._

    "'_That garden sweet, that lady fair,_
    _And all sweet shapes and odours there,_
    _In truth have never past away:_
    _'Tis we, 'tis ours, are changed; not they._

    "'_For love, and beauty, and delight,_
    _There is no death nor change: their might_
    _Exceeds our organs, which endure_
    _No light, being themselves obscure.'_

  "If this be so, can we not increase and make more lasting our
  knowledge of these things by mastering ourselves and giving scope
  to the spiritual side of us?"

                         _THE LOVE OF OTHERS_

In love for others human nature manifests its highest expression. It
is the quality of soul by which, in his relations with his fellows,
a man's capacity for service is determined; it is the fount at which
all the finer springs of action are fed. Generosity, mercy, pity,
friendship, devotion, sacrifice, flow from this one source, which
conscious effort may help to replenish, but which conscious or
unconscious borrowing can never exhaust.

In his love for others lay the absorbing passion of Harper's life.
It was a love which begot him the strongest and most enduring of
friendships, and it was a love which carried his influence, and the
sweet purpose of his life, away out beyond the circles of those with
whom he was in daily association to where the tide of affection is
wont to ebb, or, apparently, wastes itself in the reefs and shallows
which abound. Man, woman, or child, he felt their kinship to the race;
their lives were related to his life; misfortune only heightened his
sympathy, and failure his compassion. Day after day gave new expression
to the wealth of generous purpose in that great human heart of his. It
dictated the fields into which he directed his activities; it inspired
his impulses, and was the sustaining power in his work.

Nor was this, with Harper, a blind love, an unreasoned passion. On the
contrary, whatever its origin, it derived its strength from a carefully
thought out philosophy of life, a philosophy based on a belief in
a divine order and purpose in the universe, and in the sanctity of
individual lives. He had faith in both God and man, and he held that
the will of the one could only be fulfilled as it was realized in
the life of the other. This belief explains his efforts on behalf of
individuals, it interprets the views he held on such questions as those
of social and political reform.

He loved men because of the belief he had in their natures. "After
all," he writes, "it is not the external appearance of a man, nor what
he says or does, that ought to excite our admiration or distrust, but
that inner personality, the individuality, the soul, which is 'the all
and in all,' and of which appearances are but imperfect representations
and expressions." He was not a man given to professions, or to the
public performance of good deeds; in fact, the being seen of men caused
him to hesitate in the doing of much which a less sensitive nature
would have allowed. He did not shrink, however, from manifesting a
personal interest in lives which seemed to demand it of him, or from
revealing his purpose to those whom he knew could appreciate it aright.

One incident, among two or three which he has recorded, but one of
a great many known only to those with whom the occasion was shared,
is sufficient to illustrate how practical expression was given to
this belief. It occurred within a short time after he had left the
university, and before he had entered upon his journalistic career.

  "I was returning home one night after a social evening, when I
  saw a young man in the hands of a policeman. He was what some
  people would have called a 'bad boy,' kept rather doubtful
  company, and was under arrest for having raised a disturbance
  during a drunken row. Well, I managed to get the boy, who was
  about eighteen years of age, out of the cells on bail, and, in
  company with a fellow who had been 'painting the town' with him,
  I undertook to take him home. I contrived, after some time, to
  get rid of his 'pal,' and, as soon as the boy was sober enough, I
  undertook to find out whether he had a conscience.

  "After walking about the streets with him for a couple of hours
  in the beautiful moonlight, by the aid of a power which was
  certainly not my own, I discovered that he had; and the boy
  opened up his heart to me. I showed him the uselessness and folly
  of the life into which he was rapidly drifting, and, in a voice
  convulsed with sobs, he told me that what I said was true. My own
  eyes moistened as he confessed what a fool he was. He concluded
  by promising me in a voice and with a pressure of the hand which
  meant truth, that he would never touch a drop of liquor again.
  From the frank manner in which he meets my eyes when I now see
  him occasionally, I believe that he has thoroughly reformed. That
  night, as I went home, I knew that one prayer had not been in

For society as a whole, as for its individual members, his aim was a
constant betterment.

  "There are so few men who couple the capacity for appreciating
  the troubles of struggling humanity with an earnest desire to
  remove them, that I can see in such a life a tremendous power for
  good, and, after all, is not that the highest ideal a man can
  hold before him?"

In this sentence, penned in reference to another, he wrote of himself
more truly than he knew. His journals are full of passages which
disclose his "capacity to appreciate," and his "earnest desire to
remove," the obstacles which thwart the upward and onward progress
of men engaged in the competitive rivalries of the world, and in the
struggle for daily bread. Whether it was pursuing an uncongenial task
in the wilds of Muskoka, or immersed in the cares and unrest of
journalism, or busied in research for material from which to construct
an article for the _Labour Gazette_, a human interest in the life
and the lot of the mass of men was ever before him, and a purpose to
understand and improve that lot his aim.

  "During the course of my stay here," he writes of Muskoka, in
  the winter of 1895, "I have had some chance to notice the type
  of inhabitants of this inhospitable district. First and foremost
  come the lumbermen, not the miners who live in the town, but
  the stout fellows in smock and jersey, with their pants shoved
  into stockings, which are in turn encased in stout rubbers.
  Overcoats are scarce, they don't seem to be needed. Altogether,
  though these fellows lead a hard life, and are often coarse and
  dissipated, they have opinions of their own, and must be reckoned
  with by the rulers of the country.

  "Next comes the Muskoka farmer living in his shanty, for that is
  pretty much the rule, although there is, of course, an occasional
  farmhouse of more pretentious appearance, and drawing a bare
  livelihood by his constant toil with antiquated implements; most
  of the hay (the chief product, since it requires little care,)
  being cut by the scythe on patches of land cleared by years of
  toil, and in most cases thickly strewn with rocks, the only
  satisfaction that they have in their poverty being that they are

  "It is difficult to conceive of culture and refinement under such
  circumstances. It may be well, however, to have one part of our
  population comparatively free from the two dangerous influences
  of our time, riches and luxury on the one hand, and, on the
  other, embittered and ignorant combinations actuated by selfish
  interests and swayed too largely by demagogues.

  "My sojourn here, though not pleasant and not profitable from a
  business point of view, has opened an extensive field of thought.
  Of my companions the most interesting was the lumberman whose
  wife was sick, and who as a result was leaving the woods. I was
  quite interested by his ideas of human life, although they were
  not given in a scientific way. He was evidently a man of energy;
  one who took life seriously and who had his share of troubles. It
  was pathetic to hear the way he spoke of how his wife's family
  usually died at about twenty-four years of age, how his wife was
  now at that age and was sick. In fact, there are worse places
  than the lumber woods for the study of man."

In the spring of 1898 he was rejoiced at having the opportunity of
conducting a more or less extended inquiry into the conditions of
working men in the several trades.

  "The _Mail_," he writes, "intends, during the coming summer, to
  publish a series of articles concerning the conditions, social,
  moral and economic, governing each of the various trades, the
  facts to be gathered by personal observation and enquiry from
  journeymen, apprentices, employers and employees. The work is
  to be a feature of each day's paper, and, _mirabile dictu_, the
  entire charge of the matter, design and detail, has been handed
  over to me. I need not say that I am pleased. I have at once an
  opportunity of examining into the industrial and sociological
  conditions of the city and province, and possibly of doing
  good to my fellow men as the result of these observations.
  Incidentally, also, I have an opportunity of strengthening myself
  in my own profession, although that is a thing that one can do in
  journalism no matter what line of work one is pursuing. Roughly
  described, the aim of the series of sketches is to indicate to
  the parent what qualifications are required for, and what returns
  are to be expected from, the several vocations, in order that
  he may the better decide what to do with his boy or girl. I
  appreciate the responsibility which the work places upon me, and
  pray that I may be able to meet it."

The articles which were written by Harper, then twenty-four years of
age, and which appeared under the caption "What to do with your boy or
girl," were continued in the _Mail_ from day to day for several months,
and attracted very considerable attention at the time. They disclose
a remarkable ability to get at facts, and the strongest sympathy with
the end in view, and constitute a not unimportant contribution to
the scanty literature which has thus far appeared, having to do with
industrial and labour conditions in the Dominion.

The human interest which made even the dry language of statutes to glow
with animation for him, is abundantly apparent from the following
passages in reference to some of his work in the department of labour:

  "I spent most of the day in the Library of Parliament, reading up
  the provincial acts concerning mining. The thing which impressed
  me, as I read, was the uninviting nature of the task of the
  miner, cut off from the light of day, hewing away in the bowels
  of the earth, exposed to the danger of cave-ins, explosions,
  and a living entombment, as the result of carelessness on the
  part of his employers, or his associates, or the will of nature.
  How can such men, if they are crowded down almost to the margin
  of subsistence, develop a roseate view of life! Ever facing
  almost terrorizing conditions, they must become brave, sturdy,
  self-reliant and earnest enough, but how can they fail to be out
  of sympathy with the shams, hypocrisies and dilettantisms of
  modern society!"

And again:

  "At the office, I have been much interested in working upon the
  article on the Fisheries of Canada, inasmuch as it has shown to
  me a sturdy class of men toiling under conditions of hardship
  and danger for what is comparatively a small return. Doubtless
  the isolation of the fishing villages, the system of part
  proprietorship, and the passion for a sea-faring life, account
  for the relative immobility of the population.

  "I am becoming more and more convinced daily of the fact that
  this country is going through a transition stage which must
  influence it to the bottom. The use of machinery, the weakening
  of the artisan by removing the rewards of skill, the work and
  wages of girls, the prevalence of piece work and its results,
  the effects of pauper and convict labour, and a thousand other
  problems are brought daily before my notice in terms of flesh and

  "It is important to know and understand all sorts and conditions
  of men if society as a whole is to be led towards what is better.
  Certainly the 'better class of people' need leading as well as
  the others, for with them the opportunity offered by leisure is
  too often wasted in dilettantism and folly."

To "society," in the highly specialized meaning of that word, a
reference may not be out of place. In its ambitions, its mandates,
Harper saw but little which made for the development of true manhood or
womanhood, while he saw much which aimed directly at the destruction
of both. There was never any one who enjoyed more the pleasure of good
company, whose temperament, frank, hearty and mirthful, and whose
manner, courteous and sincere, made him a more welcome guest wherever
he went. It was no affectation, therefore, which caused Harper to feel
as he did; it was his belief in the true purpose of life. What to
some, and to himself, was a pastime, he saw, to others, was becoming
an end; instead of developing, it was robbing, natures of their finer
sensibilities. Many of its conventions were wholly artificial, some of
its relationships altogether false. The following short sentences are
sufficient to reveal this view:

  "Social engagements may, I think, be a healthy relaxation, if
  kept in their place, and if one does not forget to keep hold of
  one's self, and remembers the force of example. With many people
  here in Ottawa, I fear the social round is becoming an end in
  itself, and therefore a danger to themselves and others.

  "I am coming to the conclusion that if a man is to wield any
  influence worth while in this world, he has to cut this folly out
  of his life. The past fortnight has shown me how impossible it
  is for a man to do what the social world expects of him, and do
  justice to himself."

Commenting on a wedding notice which appeared in a local paper, he

  "So spoke the society editor this morning. The important thing,
  really, was the happy union for life of two loving hearts.
  Apparently what the public is supposed to be interested in, is
  the gown of white something or other. It may be salutary, as a
  means of developing an æsthetic taste generally, to have space
  in our public prints for such trifles. For my own part, I often
  think the world would be better and saner if the society editor
  had never been born."

And of the "better part," in a personal letter to a friend:

  "If you will pardon me for making the remark, I was very
  pleased to see the lively interest your sisters take in the
  great work of improving the condition of the masses. It is
  one which is bound to widen their sympathies, and remove any
  possibility of their becoming enthralled by the chains of hollow
  conventionality, which, more than anything else, prevents the
  development of true womanhood, under the conditions of our modern

How, according to his view, true womanhood might be developed, may be
gathered from a letter written by Harper to one of his sisters a short
time before his death. It is one of many home letters which might be
quoted, but it may be taken by itself as characteristic. In speaking of
his love for others, its reproduction here may not be out of place:

                                             "_Ottawa, Oct. 4th, 1901._
  "MY DEAR L----:

  "I am not writing to give you news, for there is little to give.
  I have been having a quiet happy little evening all by myself,
  and I thought I could not do better than let you into the secret
  of my happiness. I think I have told you before that I am an
  admirer of the high-mindedness of Matthew Arnold, 'the apostle
  of sweetness and light.' Latterly, I have been taking a great
  deal of true pleasure from his poems, and one of the best of
  them, _The Buried Life_, I have just finished reading, not for
  the first time, for they stand many readings; and I am sure
  you would find it hopeful and inspiring. I wish you would read
  Matthew Arnold's works, particularly some of the poems, such as
  _Rugby Chapel_, _Dover Beach_, _Self Dependence_ and _The Buried
  Life_; the last, most of all. There is a good deal of the stoical
  Greek about Matthew Arnold, but his is a beautiful, noble, pure
  mind whose example makes the pursuit of perfection meaningful,
  and beautiful to contemplate. There is much in his philosophy
  with which you doubtless will not agree, but there is a richness,
  beauty and purity, which you will find most inspiring.

  "And this brings me still to another question. Why should not you
  and E---- turn this winter to profit by spending a part of every
  day reading aloud to each other, choosing, preferably, such works
  as _The Idylls of the King_, Matthew Arnold's poems, or other
  writings of the great masters in literature which take one away
  from the sordidness of life, and tend to develop the best that is
  in one. This, with an adulteration of fiction, would make the
  winter very profitable as well as very enjoyable to you both.
  When E---- can find time, he could read with you, and direct
  your reading course. My dear L----, I am becoming more and more
  convinced every day that the most important duty we have is the
  moulding of our character; for it is in the strength and richness
  of our character that we obtain the title to self-respect, and
  are able to influence others. It is by bringing ourselves into
  closer contact with the highest thought that we are going to be
  enabled to obtain high-mindedness and purity ourselves. There
  is a world of truth in the statement, 'Blessed are the pure in
  heart, for they shall see God,' and these things of which I speak
  are some of the ways of attaining that purity of heart which
  makes life richer, deeper and happier.

  "Longfellow, in his prose romance, _Hyperion_, has something of
  what I have in mind, when he says:

  "'It is the part of an indiscreet and troublesome ambition to
  care too much about fame, about what the world says of us; to
  be always looking into the faces of others for approval; to be
  always anxious for the effect of what we do and say; to be
  always shouting to hear the echo of our own voices. If you look
  about you, you will see men who are wearing life away in feverish
  anxiety of fame, and the last we shall ever hear of them will be
  the funeral bell which tolls them to their early graves! Unhappy
  men and unsuccessful! because their purpose is, not to accomplish
  well their task, but to clutch the "fantasy and trick of fame";
  and they go to their graves with purposes unaccomplished, and
  wishes unfulfilled. Better for them, and for the world in their
  example, had they known how to wait! Believe me, the talent of
  success is nothing more than doing what you can do well; and
  doing well whatever you do,--without a thought of fame. If it
  comes at all, it will come because it is deserved, not because it
  is sought after. And, moreover, there will be no misgivings, no
  disappointment, no hasty, feverish, exhausting excitement.'

  "This is rather a heavy quotation for a letter, but I wished
  you to catch the thought, you will find it in the chapter in
  _Hyperion_ on _Literary Fame_. You will see the truth of it, if
  you allow your mind to dwell upon it for a moment. Longfellow
  has no thought of discouraging ambition. Far from it. He
  simply wants to emphasize the folly of hoping for fame which is
  undeserved, and, as he points out, the way to deserve it is by
  doing well what is to be done. But as you are not fame hunting,
  it is not the fame part of it that I wish to dwell upon here,
  so much as the parallel thought, that it is the inner life, the
  inner strength which comes from resolute effort and familiarity
  with the best thought, which tells, and which makes for true

  "I have often told you that your worst danger is your tendency
  to worry, a tendency which is based, I know, upon the depth of
  the interest which you take in those who are dear to you. What
  you must do is to prevent that tendency from casting a shadow
  over your life. I have a picture of you--a copy which W----
  enlarged from the little sunbeam of you, with a big white hat,
  you remember,--in a gold frame over my desk. It is much admired,
  and I am proud to introduce it as my sister. As I look at it, I
  can see my dear little sister, bright, happy and devoted, and
  now I don't want to think of her with any unnecessary cares. Now
  do be good, and you and E---- try and make the winter profitable
  to both of you. Take walks, get exercise in the open air, be
  cheerful, read, and generally try and make life happier by
  the means which you have at hand. I am neither scolding nor
  lecturing, and I have said nothing which you do not already know,
  but somehow to-night, you have been running in my mind, and I
  wanted to tell you what I thought and wished, so that, in due
  course of time, you will look back to the winter of 1901 as one
  of the happiest chapters in your life. I am sorry that, when we
  were in Barrie, the shadow of memories and the pressure of many
  things must have made me seem selfish and not kind enough to my
  sisters, but I need not tell you, L----, that your happiness is
  dear to me.

  "And now I must close. So good-night, my dear little sister.

  "With much love,
                   "Ever your affectionate brother,

Just how characteristic this letter is of the interest taken by Harper
in the welfare and happiness of those to whom he was united by the
closest of ties, will be apparent from another letter, written many
months previous, to a brother in New York, after returning from a
short visit to that city. It reveals the same earnest endeavour of a
life to impart its own secret to the lives of others, and to establish
a standard of happiness which could bring no deceptions. Its practical
common sense will make it no less commendable as an evidence of the
truest affection.

He writes:

                                              "_Ottawa, Dec. 30, 1900._

  "Since returning to Ottawa there has been little happening that
  would be of interest to you. I have been busy enough, and have
  managed to control a tendency, fostered by the invitations of a
  number of kind people here, and my own disposition, to be drawn
  into the social whirl. It is weak, and life is earnest, so I
  have decided to do with as little of it as possible. No man who
  desires to make progress in this world, can hope to do so if he
  squanders his evenings. There are two ways in which a man may
  equip himself so that he may be in the van of progress:--first,
  by strengthening his own mind through a study of what is and has
  been in the minds of great men of thought,--this, one can do
  from books;--secondly, by pursuing positive original work along
  the special line to which he has devoted himself. These things I
  am attempting to do. The difficulty lies in selection. What we
  have to do is to get away from the semblances, and get at the
  realities of life.

  "Of Carlyle's _Hero Worship_, I have already spoken to you. It
  is healthy and sturdy. I am now reading Carlyle's _Past and
  Present_, and do not know anything in literature more wholesome
  or worth reading. Do not neglect to read it. Men of the stamp of
  Carlyle, Emerson and Matthew Arnold go to the root of questions,
  and their books will do you one hundred times as much good as
  all the novels which are going the rounds. Every man owes it to
  himself to supply his mind with the best material available, and,
  although Carlyle may seem a little heavy in parts, where one may
  not have become familiar with the subject matter he refers to,
  you will find the influence of his sturdy personality upon your
  own views of life.

  "With regard to the second point,--work along one's own special
  line,--I am plodding along at work in the field of economics,
  and hope to be able to get out a book in the more or less near
  future. You know best what will be profitable for you. What I
  would suggest is, that you lose no opportunity of familiarizing
  yourself with the best writings on architecture; that you devote
  time and thought to studying architectural models of buildings
  as they are, and otherwise; and, that you take every opportunity
  to attend lectures or discussions where architectural subjects
  are being considered. In this way you will find your interest in
  your work, and in life generally, as well as your usefulness to
  your employers, increasing at a surprising rate. I know how hard
  it is for a man living in a great, interesting place like New
  York, to do deliberate, consecutive work, and to keep control of
  himself and his time, but he must do this, if he is going to get
  along. Life is real and earnest, and a man who is going to hold
  up his end in dull times, and in the autumn of life, must take
  every opportunity to equip himself, and to save his dollars. A
  man need not be mean, he can go to things worth going to, he can
  dress decently, and hold up his end generally; but there are lots
  of things upon which money is often spent, which are absolute
  folly. Money is hard to make, and a man cannot justify himself in
  throwing it away.

  "I hope you will pardon all this which may appear like a
  lecture. It is not, I can assure you, dear old Will. It is simply
  a few conclusions which I have come to, and which I believe to
  be absolutely true. If they are, why should we not follow them?
  I want us both to live fruitful and useful lives, and it is by
  such conscious, deliberate work as I have referred to, that we
  both can do it. Let us cut asunder what of empty, unprofitable
  conviviality, and the like, may have grown into our lives, and
  let us live so that when we are old men,--if we are spared,--we
  may look back upon our lives without regret, and feel that we
  have been worthy of the best that is in us, and of the trust
  which our dear parents placed in us.

  "My visit to New York was thoroughly profitable; it has given
  me much food for thought, and has enabled me to see some things
  more clearly than ever before. I cannot tell you of all the
  impressions New York brought, and has left upon me. I have never
  quite managed to shake off the attitude of mind of a student, and
  I find myself constantly weaving my experiences in New York into
  my philosophy of life. The two events which seem to stand out
  most clearly are the visit to the _Art Museum_, and the concert
  at the _Metropolitan_. That was a glorious day, for it showed
  how men in the rush and flurry of business life have at hand
  the means of soul purifying and refreshment in art and music,
  two great agencies which bring men's minds back from semblances
  to truth. Will you ever forget the music we heard? The singing
  of Rossini's _Stabat Mater_ was to me like wandering through a
  sea of dreams, beautiful yet sad. Greatest of all, I thought,
  was Nordica's _Inflammatus_, a soul-stirring song, splendidly
  set off by the orchestra and chorus, and which stirred the vast
  audience to its depths. It was the great victory of the evening.
  How strong must be the satisfaction of the possession of so
  magnificent a voice, both in the capacity to interpret such
  beautiful music, and in the ability to thrill and purge the human
  soul. For is it not the case that great music ever does this? I
  know little of the _technique_ of music, but for years I have
  felt its influence upon me for good.

  "Every hour of my visit was profitable, and I need not say
  that it would have been a blind, stupid ramble without your
  assistance. I know what it meant in sacrifice of time and
  hard-earned money to you. I would have liked to have controlled
  your generosity. However, I know the spirit which moved you, and
  I am deeply grateful to you.

  "And now, my dear brother Will, I trust that this New Year which
  ushers in a new century, will bring to you true happiness, and
  the accomplishment of your most worthy ambitions.

                      "Your affectionate brother,

It is not surprising to find in a remote corner of the diary of a man
whose feelings were so genuine, and sympathies so sincere, such mention
as the following, of an evening spent with "The Woodcutters," a society
he had helped to organize the year after he left the university, and
the purposes of which will be sufficiently clear from the reference:

  "We went to old Thomas Mahoney's where we worked hard from about
  8:30 to 11:00 P. M., sawing and splitting wood. The family
  consisted of Mrs. Mahoney, an old woman of about sixty or
  sixty-five, and her daughter. The daughter, who is half-witted,
  goes out washing and scrubbing, while the old lady has to saw
  and split all the wood necessary to keep their hovel warm, it
  being situated in an exposed place on the edge of the common.
  The interior does not betoken wealth, but the old woman and her
  daughter seem to be not unhappy, this probably because of their
  having come from the Emerald Isle. I shall try and follow up the
  acquaintance with a view to discovering to what causes their
  poverty is due. This institution is a good one, for besides the
  hard work, it affords undoubtedly a good way of helping the
  deserving poor, and gives one a splendid chance for economic

Nor is the following entry less surprising, written, as it was, in
part justification of himself, lest he should have erred in having
aided financially, and in other ways, a deaf-mute boy who came to him
for assistance, but into whose circumstances he had not, at the time,
had opportunity of making a personal inquiry. A file of correspondence
with the Charity Organizations officer, and the superintendent of
_The Institute for the Deaf and Dumb_, reveals the care with which he
subsequently satisfied his conscience in this particular case of one
who belonged to "the dependent and neglected poor."

  "Whatever may be held regarding the unwisdom of a paternal system
  with regard to society generally,--and while my own best judgment
  inclines me to be individualistic,--I have a strong sympathy with
  those who are robbed of the use of their senses, to whom so much
  of the beauty of God's world is as a sealed book. I felt this
  strongly as I dictated the letters which he could not hear. The
  bright intelligence on his face as he learned my intention, and
  indicated his approval of some of my suggestions, was beautiful
  to see. I trust that he will not prove a disappointment, and that
  I shall not be deceived."

Harper had the faith which led him at times to cast his bread upon the
waters. Had he been asked why he did so, he would have replied, because
he loved to. If questioned further, he would, with Tennyson, have said:

    "That nothing walks with aimless feet;
       That not one life shall be destroy'd,
       Or cast as rubbish to the void,
     When God hath made the pile complete."

                     _SOCIAL AND POLITICAL IDEALS_

Few men of his years have thought as deeply as Harper did, or had
clearer perceptions, concerning conditions and forces which make
for happiness and progress in social life, and the development of
national greatness. Had he been spared he would have been an earnest
and practical reformer; silent as his voice is now, the words he once
uttered are not without their value to our day and generation. He was a
true patriot in sentiment and aspiration.

Harper loved his country and its people, and in all that he undertook,
which was of a public nature, he was animated by an enthusiasm for
the common good. Of the self-imposed tasks he had undertaken in
addition to his regular duties at the department of labour, and in
each of which he had made some progress, were treatises on "Labour
Legislation in Canada," and the "Outlines of an Industrial History of
the Dominion." Among his contributions to publications other than the
_Labour Gazette_, was a short essay on _Colleges and Citizenship_ in
a Christmas number of the _Acta Victoriana_ of Victoria College, one
or two articles in _The Commonwealth_ on _Canada's Attitude Towards
Labour_, and an uncompleted monograph, intended for publication, on
_The Study of Political Economy in the High Schools_. He was president
of the Ottawa Social Science Club, secretary-treasurer of the Ottawa
section of the University of Toronto Alumni Association, and an active
member of the Ottawa Literary and Scientific Society. He was at the
same time promoting the organization of a University Club, a plan of
which he had carefully prepared, and the object of which was to bring
the university men of the city into closer touch with each other, and
make their influence more widely felt in the civic and social life of
the community.

The background of all Harper's thinking on social and political
problems was coloured by his belief in a moral order; in the forefront
was ever the individual proclaiming this order, and seeking to realize
it in his own life. Institutions of whatever kind, whether national
or religious, were to him of human creation. Their usefulness was in
proportion to the degree to which they helped to give expression to the
unseen purpose in the universe. Nature and man, alone, were divine. It
followed logically from this that man's work among his fellows in the
world was to discover the moral order, reveal and maintain it, so far
as within him the power lay. Harmony with this order meant happiness,
want of harmony, whether by the individual or the state, unhappiness.
In this view, the individual is vastly superior to any institution he
and his fellows may construct, superior as an end, and as a means to an
end. If a set of conditions exist which are counter to the moral order,
or obstruct its fulfillment in the lives of men, these conditions
should be changed, the individual should not be sacrificed to them.
On the other hand, change may be, and ought to be accomplished more by
men than by institutions, and can only be accomplished in the degree to
which beliefs become active, potent factors in individual lives.

It is true that human knowledge is limited, and that the purpose of
God is infinite, and so there may rightly be among men differences
of opinion as to what, under any circumstances, are the ends to be
sought, and the best means to attain those ends; and humility may well
characterize all expressions of belief relative thereto; but, to the
extent of knowledge gained, the ground underfoot is firm, and humility
will not excuse the want of assertion, where right reason is set at
naught by wrongful conduct. Moreover, there is much on which men can be
agreed, broken arcs visible to all, though the perfect round is seen
by none. There are right and wrong, truth and falsehood, honesty and
dishonesty, love and hate, purity and vice, honour and dishonour, and
the difference between them is as apparent and real as the difference
'twixt day and night, albeit, now and again, a twilight of uncertainty
may render doubtful the confines of separation. Harper's exclusive
insistence was only upon what in this way was acceptable to all; and
knowing that it was acceptable, he was sure the appeal would find a
response in those to whom it was addressed. Whatever men might be in
seeking privately their own selfish ends, their belief in a moral order
was apparent once action became collective; the public had a conscience
to which it was generally true, though men at times might seem to
betray their better selves; and public opinion might be expected to
guard for society as a whole a right for which individuals sometimes
lost respect. How great, therefore, was the responsibility upon those
who had the capacity, or opportunity, to see that public opinion was
rightly formed and directed, and that, in social and political affairs,
truth and right should be made to prevail!

This insistence upon the recognition of responsibility in those
favoured by educational training or opportunity, is well brought out
in a paragraph or two in the short essay on _Colleges and Citizenship_.
Referring to a quotation from Sir Alfred Milner's life of Arnold
Toynbee, in which "the estrangement of the men of thought from the
leaders of the people" is referred to as having constituted, in
Toynbee's mind, the great danger of the democratic upheaval of the
time, Harper writes:

  "People in Canada to-day are doubtless not so anxious about
  democratic upheaval. Fortunately the aggravated conditions of an
  old world metropolis have not yet been developed. The task is
  easier; the duty none the less imperative. It is more possible to
  secure the confidence of men who are not embittered by the pangs
  of slumdom. But because conditions here are not as distressing as
  they have been and are elsewhere, it is surely no less desirable,
  with a view to promoting industrial peace and healthy national
  development, that the men who have opportunity and capacity for
  the serious study of social and economic problems, should not
  allow themselves to become fenced off by a wall of indifference
  of their own creation from those to whom the mass of the people
  look for direction, inspiration and suggestion. It is reasonable
  to expect that he who claims to be engaged in the pursuit of
  truth should not give countenance to what makes for social
  disorder and national decay.

  "Men are as much open to reason, as liable to accept truth,
  when they have been convinced of it, as when Arnold Toynbee
  studied, lectured and wrote. They are as prone to prefer what is
  genuine to what is pretense and dissimulation. Surely a peculiar
  obligation to see that men think rightly and act sanely, devolves
  upon those whose vantage ground should enable them to distinguish
  what is genuine. Sir Alfred Milner, having in mind the earnest
  friend of his undergraduate days, said six years ago to the
  members of Toynbee Hall: 'I do not go so far as to say that what
  Oxford thinks to-day England will do to-morrow, but certainly any
  new movement of thought at the universities in these days rapidly
  finds its echo in the press and in public opinion.' Indeed, is
  there not fair ground for the belief that much of the virtue
  which has marked the conduct of Great Britain's High Commissioner
  at Cape Town, throughout the South African crisis is due to
  association with the high-minded student, who, in the congenial
  atmosphere of Oxford, did not forget that he was a citizen?"

It was his belief in the importance of men recognizing their duties as
citizens, and being able to discharge these duties with intelligence
and for the common good, which led Harper to prepare a scheme for the
teaching of Political Economy in the high schools. The merits of this
plan he had summarized as follows:

  "Such a study would tend to remedy the great evil of democratic
  institutions, the susceptibility of the masses to the influence
  of demagogues, and their liability to misconstrue the relations
  of cause and effect because of ignorance. It would tend to
  promote mental development, especially in the direction of
  individual thought. It would tend to raise the standard of such
  studies in the universities, and this in time would react upon
  the high schools in the way of more competent teachers, and,
  in the end, create great possibilities for the prosecution
  of research in this all important branch of knowledge in our
  country. It would tend to remedy social evils by giving the
  philanthropist and the public generally, something like an
  accurate idea of the true state of society. It would react
  beneficially upon the government, which, with a more critical
  observation, would be more careful in its actions."

He modestly concludes,

  "I simply put forward a proposal which, I think, if carried
  out, would tend to modify the evils fostered by ignorance. I
  have to a great extent taken it as an axiom that whatever tends
  to disseminate knowledge, to advance truth, and to develop the
  intellect, cannot be wrong, and should be accepted by all liberal
  minded men; and this, I think, would be the result of the study
  of Political Economy in our high schools."

From the notes he had made, and from what is contained in the body of
the article, it would appear that he had in mind a course on _Civic
Ethics_, quite as much as on the _Elements of Economics_, and that he
would have liked, if possible, to have had a beginning made in the
public schools.

Scattered throughout his diary are such observations as the following:

  "I am becoming more and more convinced that the true rulers of
  the nation are outside of our parliaments and our law courts,
  and that the safety of society lies in informing those who form
  public opinion."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "I feel more and more the necessity of emphasizing the importance
  of the scientific study of economic and political problems in a
  country in which every man has the franchise, and is supposed to
  be in a position to express an intelligent opinion upon public
  questions, and particularly at a time when labour and kindred
  problems are prominent in the public mind."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "A man who truly loves his country should be disposed to do his
  utmost to see it rightly governed."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "The poor downtrodden have more to hope for from men who, having
  a specialized training in the operation of social forces, apply
  themselves to the proper remedy, than from all the windy,
  ultra-radical demagogues."

  "It is the alienation--partly, no doubt, due to indolence--of
  the men of thought from those from whom the mass of the people
  habitually receive their inspiration, which accounts for much of
  the crass ignorance and purposeless passion of the people and
  their demagogues."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "For myself, I have long deplored the foolish worship of this or
  that set of political machinery by apparently well intentioned
  men. In Matthew Arnold's _Culture and Anarchy_, there is a
  solution for much of our distressing bluster and blunder. With
  confidence in the possibilities of man and a resolute endeavour
  to strive towards perfection, to allow our best consciousness
  to play about our stock notions and our painful conditions of
  society, we should be able to see the real value of things, and
  ultimately to approach more nearly to right and truth. If our
  well-intentioned, but perhaps 'over-Hebraized' ultra-socialists
  and ultra-individualists would have perfection more prominently
  in mind than the pet panacea they have ever before them, and
  would allow their best consciousness to play about their notions
  of society and its evils, there would be less of viciousness and
  ignorance in their propaganda."

  "The fallacy of political panaceas! And the vital importance of
  improving the individual morally, and encouraging him to elevate
  his ideals! What a splendid thing it would be if every labour
  agitator, every demagogue, every member of parliament, every
  professor, teacher and minister, and, in fact, every one who
  exerts an influence upon the public mind, could realize and act
  upon the truth which came to Alton Locke after his life of bitter
  trial: 'My only ground was now the bare realities of life and
  duty. The problem of society--self-sacrifice, the one solution.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

  "We are too apt to regard social phenomena as if they are
  entities in themselves, instead of incidents in the development
  of society, a fact which a man who is amidst the strife of
  existing social and economic conditions should not lose sight of."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "I am continually impressed with the wisdom of keeping a mind
  open to suggestion and impressions from the men one meets in
  the ordinary course of life, in fine, the importance of keeping
  an open mind. If one can accomplish this, even the din of
  'the world's most crowded streets' becomes interesting and
  instructive, even beautiful, because of the opportunities of
  seeing truth and discovering the remedy for evils."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Justice and truth must prevail over tyranny and ignorance."

       *       *       *       *       *

The true mind is revealed in its unconscious moments, and it is,
therefore, from passages like these, casually expressed, and constantly
recurring in much that he wrote, which was of a private nature, that
his real views and beliefs are to be gathered. One or two other
passages in a similar vein will disclose these views more fully.

During Christmas week of 1900 he visited New York for the first time.
Of the many impressions made upon his mind, the contrasts of wealth and
poverty, and all that they implied, were to him more real than aught

  "What was particularly irritating to me," he writes in his
  journal, after returning from this trip, "was the constant
  evidence of the power of money rule in that throbbing metropolis.
  The story is written, even on the store signs on Broadway, that
  this, the greatest commercial city in America, is practically
  owned by monied persons, whose tastes and ambitions strike one as
  being essentially low, mean and vulgar. I felt strongly a growing
  pride in British institutions and British character compared with
  what I saw about me. The ground taken by Mr. Mulock, on behalf
  of labour, came strongly before me. I felt that selfishness must
  be reckoned with in the solution of social problems. What is to
  be hoped is that strong men may be brought to see that right
  legislation is good politics, that they may thus be persuaded
  to lend their aid to those who hope to avoid the growth in
  Canada of a corrupt system by which the power is in the hands
  of the octopus who owns the money bags, and who fattens on the
  blood of the people whom he crowds under him. There is luxury
  and magnificence on Fifth Avenue, but I envied not the proud
  possessors of those costly mansions. I want naught but what my
  own ability and effort will bring me. I believe in making one's
  surroundings as beautiful as may be, but I feel that there is
  much waste and vulgar display in the way in which wealthy New
  York arrays herself. Her luxury is ponderous and heavy and dull,
  when one remembers that much of it rests on the necks of the
  hundreds of thousands of toilers who gasp for breath in the
  narrow streets, from whom are withheld God's free gifts, the
  sunlight and the pure air."

Elsewhere, he writes after a walk through the city streets:

  "On the way home I turned over in my mind the question as to
  how wealthy men come to be so much appreciated in spite of the
  fact that it is only the lovable in man which is truly loved--by
  right-minded men at all events, and I am satisfied that,
  consciously or unconsciously, men come to compromise with their
  own sense of justice in their estimate of men, until a habit of
  thought and regard is fixed. What goes forward is something like
  this: we do not love the man with the big house, but we would
  love to be the man with the big house. And since the man with the
  big house often has it in his power to get a bigger house than
  we have, we come to appreciate him. Many men do this until it
  comes to be usual to appreciate the man with the big house, and
  he comes to be a large figure in the eyes of the world, however
  little we may love him and his methods. This is particularly
  the case in a young nation like the United States which has, as
  yet, scarcely come to realize the really valuable things, an
  appreciation of which comes from genuine culture.

  "Again, whilst there is no great sin _per se_ in being rich, I
  can see the truth in the old scriptural saying, 'It is easier for
  a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to
  enter into the kingdom of God.' When it is so hard for an earnest
  student to keep his mind rivetted upon the eternal realities of
  life, through which character building and true happiness come,
  how much harder must it be for the man whose circumstances make
  the existing order, if not sufficient, yet comfortable, who has
  his vanity flattered by the things which he has been pursuing,
  and who has a vast web of houses and other possessions to shut
  him off from even an occasional view of the realities. These
  facts, of course, only hold in their general application and
  tendencies. There have been, doubtless, splendid rich men. When
  these reach that state when, of their own free will, and of
  deliberate choice, they are prepared to go, sell all that they
  have, and give to the poor, then they have reached an attitude
  of mind and heart which enables them to distinguish between
  semblances and realities, to deliberately select the latter, and
  so realize the greatest happiness, the Kingdom of Heaven."

His fine spirit is no less clearly revealed in the views which he
held of the duties of the department of labour, and of the ideals he
believed should govern and direct its work. The following extracts from
letters to the one with whom he was associated, may serve to show with
what purpose and to what end he had given himself to the work. The
letters were written during the summer of 1901, while he was in charge
of the department:

  "As I lay in a hammock last night at Kingsmere, and gazed into
  the deep blue moonlit vault of heaven, and ran over in my mind
  the progress already made by the department, and taxed my
  imagination to see its future, the one formidable obstacle which
  I saw ever before us was the difficulty of keeping firm to one's
  convictions in the face of growing clamours for things which one
  cannot approve, yet which are uttered by people whom one cannot
  ignore. Nevertheless, I am convinced that all will be well in
  the end. We will have the good will of the decent, fair-minded
  people, and that is all one should be much concerned about, after
  one has satisfied one's own sense of right and justice. I feel a
  deep sense of the gravity of our position, and I am determined
  that you shall command my best effort in your endeavours to make
  the work of the department effective, and to defeat unworthy
  attacks. I do not think that I am lacking either in faith in
  human nature or in the ultimate triumph of right, but I am coming
  to realize more, day by day, that it is a great man's work which
  we are called upon to perform. I have every confidence in our
  ability to weather the storms which we will undoubtedly be called
  upon to meet, and you can be assured that you will find me ready
  to do my share. It behooves us both to steadfastly keep before us
  those things which are true, and, if we do, Nature, as Carlyle
  says, will be on our side.

  "The work on the _Labour Gazette_ allows opportunity for a
  careful and searching analysis of the industrial and social life
  of the Dominion. Already I can see the practical usefulness of
  the work. In addition to the obvious recognition of the claims
  of labour involved in the creation of the department, we have it
  in our power to publish information which should lead to a better
  understanding all round, as well as to further such movements as
  arbitration and conciliation which tend to promote industrial

  "With the added responsibility there has come to me an increasing
  sense of the usefulness of the work which we are doing. I
  believe we can do much towards determining the direction of
  social progress. With a knowledge of fact, an absence of
  sectarian prejudice, some understanding of the progress of human
  institutions, and of the motives which influence men, we should,
  if we can keep control of ourselves, and maintain high ideals as
  inspiration for the development of the best that is in us, be
  able to render a lasting service to this country."

In this connection his views as to the relation of the State and
Labour, and of labour problems generally, may not be without interest.

  "I think," he writes, "we should discourage anything that tends
  to prevent Canadian workers from being good citizens, and enough
  means and leisure to avoid the brutalizing tendency of suppressed
  bitterness and poverty, is necessary to that end. I am inclined
  to believe that healthy, rational development will be best
  furthered by restraining those influences which tend to lower the
  level of citizenship, and the material well-being of the mass of
  the workers in a country in which, as in Canada, the workers are
  an important element in the governing of the nation. Society must
  insist upon rules of fairness governing our industrial system,
  and upon frowning down the 'mean man.' Let each individual have
  to himself the reward of his energy, and of his legitimate
  effort, but let him work in accordance with rules of fair play,
  and frown down, and banish, if need be, the 'mean man.'

  "There are those who have held that man has but one right, the
  right to live, if he can. Modern British democracy does not
  stop there. That same sense of self-respect which prevents us
  considering as tolerable a society which allows men and women,
  who are unable to provide for themselves, to lie down on the
  street and die, forces us to insist that there shall be some
  rules for the regulation of industrial life, more particularly
  where the parties in an industrial contest are of unequal
  strength. Most modern societies are prepared to admit that
  industry should be so conducted that men who are willing to
  work shall be allowed to work under as wholesome conditions as
  are reasonably possible, and that they shall be allowed such a
  return for their labour and so much leisure, as is necessary to
  health. For, to put it on no higher ground, no society, however
  hard hearted, can afford for long, when the remedy lies in its
  own hands, to countenance conditions which create in the hearts
  of reasonable men, that bitterness which tends to provoke social
  upheavals and revolutions.

  "Where the governing power is dependent upon the governed,
  no abstract theory of individual liberty or what not, will
  long prevent the State from taking cognizance of apparent and
  remediable injustice. Doctrinaire political philosophers,
  painters of Utopias, peddlars of political panaceas, still have
  their own little _nostrums_ for society, but the law has been
  built up, as has seemed right or expedient to the law makers of
  the time, as a series of arbitrary rules based upon experience,
  and defining the terms upon which people may best live in each
  other's society.

  "The attitude taken by those who have fashioned British policy
  in industrial matters, recognizing the principle that upon
  individual ability and individual energy rests national progress,
  allows to the individual the enjoyment of the fruits of his
  industry. But it insists that in the getting of it he must be
  governed by rules of fair play. The rule which underlies the
  various labour laws seems to be 'leave well enough alone, but
  get after the mean man.' A parent has a right to chastise his
  child, but that does not mean that he has a right to beat his
  child whenever he feels inclined, or allow him to be so worked
  as to start him in life a crippled, deformed, little creature.
  The Factories Acts, perhaps the best known department of labour
  legislation, both in England and in Canada, have been created
  to correct abuses, which would not have arisen but for the
  practices of hard-hearted employers. In order to thwart the mean
  man, who will consider neither the comfort nor the well-being
  of his employees, certain rules have been laid down, declaring
  how establishments, where abuses are likely to arise, shall be

  "The generally accepted rule nowadays is, that good done is
  sufficient justification of an act, in the absence of evidence
  that equal or greater evil will follow. Take as an illustration
  the inspection of apples and pears, which does not fall within
  the scope of what is normally considered labour legislation. It
  was found that, left to themselves, some men who sold apples were
  so short-sighted as to fill the centre of the apple barrels with
  inferior fruit, straw, old boots, clothes, and other material
  which cost less than the hand-picked fruit of the Canadian
  orchards, and which could not be seen when covered up with rosy,
  sweet smelling Northern Spies. But the appetite of the British
  consumer does not extend to the contents of the refuse cart, and
  Canadian fruit growers as a whole suffered. Because some men are
  prepared to carry their meanness to the extent of counterfeiting,
  and of impairing the reputation of their countrymen, the Canadian
  parliament felt called upon, in the interest of common decency
  and the good of the apple trade, to require an inspection, which,
  while it will defeat the mean man, will involve the regulation of
  every honest Canadian shipper who is content to take his chances
  on the principle, '_caveat emptor_.'

  "Here, then, is an illustration which may be applied. Let every
  man stand upon his own feet, says the parliament at Westminster.
  Let every man choose and pursue his own aim in life, and have for
  himself the reward of his efforts. But where an abuse develops to
  such an extent that it becomes a menace to public safety, or an
  invasion of the rights of others, we are prepared to so legislate
  as to defeat the offender, whilst restricting individual
  enterprise to the least possible extent."

And of the application of the same principle of fair play to industrial
disputes, he writes:

  "Partly because society feels that it cannot afford to see the
  machinery of production tied up and inactive, partly because
  of the effect upon consumers of increased inconvenience and
  increased prices as the result of that suspension, but largely, I
  think, because society demands that the men who work shall have
  fair treatment, because the great heart of society, stripped of
  its shams, its semblances, its dilettantisms, its hypocrisies
  and its follies, demands that justice and fair play shall rule
  between man and man, that they who are willing to work with,
  their hands shall have a fair return for their work, and shall
  be allowed to work under fair conditions, it has come to pass
  that, in British countries, there is an answer to the demand
  of labour for some kind of arbitrament other than the strong
  hand, when the parties to an industrial dispute fail to agree.
  In New Zealand the answer has come in compulsory arbitration,
  which, at bottom, means, practically, the fixing of wages by the
  State. In Great Britain and Canada individualism will not go so
  far. Public opinion, for the time being at least, is satisfied
  with the creation of machinery for the operation of voluntary
  conciliation. We hope that public opinion will, in most cases and
  in the long run, strike a true note. Under modern conditions,
  as Carlyle says, 'Democracy virtually extant will insist upon
  becoming palpably extant.'

  "Inasmuch as many industrial disputes have their origin in
  misunderstandings, and in sentimental alienations from the
  arbitrary disposition of one party or the other, the Acts
  in Great Britain and Canada, providing as they do for the
  appointment of an unbiased mediator to bring the parties
  together, are calculated to sweep away all unessential
  entanglements, and make the way clear for a settlement by means
  of amicable compromise without taking away from either of the
  parties the privilege, to which each claims a right, of using
  its strength to further its own legitimate individual ends.
  The existence of the machinery makes it difficult for either
  party in a serious dispute to refuse to employ it; the prestige
  of the government behind the conciliator enables him to deal
  freely with each party, and to throw the full light of day upon
  the real condition of affairs. This done, the full strength of
  the system of voluntary conciliation comes into play. Public
  opinion will force a settlement which approximates to justice
  and fairness. The mean party, whether it be the employer or the
  labour organization, must inevitably give way to the extent of
  its meanness, and at the same time, the right of the individual
  to realize for himself the fullest fruits of his legitimate
  effort, at once the stimulus of the capitalist, and _raison
  d'être_ of the trade union, is preserved. The system, it is
  true, acknowledges, at once, the imperfection of trade union
  machinery, and the selfishness, even to the extent of meanness,
  of employers; it goes further than the grasping and heartless
  employer would allow; it falls short of what many unionists,
  especially among the socialists in the organizations, would
  demand; but it adequately represents the general attitude of
  the British public in matters of labour legislation generally,
  preserves the reward of individual effort to the individual who
  makes the effort, but makes it impossible for the mean man to
  profit by his meanness. Meanwhile, with the option, in case of
  disputes, of the arbitrament of public opinion, an employer is
  apt to give greater consideration to a proposal for the creation
  of a permanent conciliation board, representative of himself and
  his employees, to determine questions which may arise within his

  "Such a bringing together of the two classes in the producing
  scheme for the consideration of their mutual interests, as well
  as their mutual differences, is calculated to promote a harmony
  which should make for the great aim of all, the promotion of
  industrial peace. Granted the existence of a fair rate of wages
  and fair conditions of work, the existence of conditions,
  which can, with little difficulty, merge into a modified form
  of industrial association or partnership, and there is the
  vindication of the truth, that there is no necessary warfare
  between the parties to production."

Lastly, of Democracy; its problems were to him mainly industrial; a
well informed public opinion was the one hope, a recognition of the
duties of citizenship, the one necessity of the times. In obedience to
a moral order lay the secret of happiness, for the heart of a people
like the heart of man, was governed by truth.

  "If we are to have faith in democracy, we must believe that the
  people, when informed, will choose what is right in preference
  to what is base. If we can judge of the disposition of the press
  and the expressed opinions of prominent men who give thought to
  the matter, Canada has deliberately set her face towards the
  promotion of industrial peace, the stamping out of the mean man.
  Canadians seem disposed to declare with Carlyle, that 'cash
  payment is not the sole nexus of man with man. Deep, far deeper
  than supply and demand are laws, obligations as sacred as man's
  life itself. He that will not learn them, perpetual mutiny,
  contention, hatred, isolation, execration, will wait on his
  footsteps, till all men discern that the thing which he attains,
  however golden it look or be, is not success, but the want of

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Working men are not asking for favours. In their federations
  less and less is heard of technical differences, and more of a
  desire to secure the good will of the general public by means of
  a cool, deliberate presentation of views upon public questions
  primarily affecting them. It is impossible not to accept the
  general views of Mr. Henry Compton, that as working men acquire
  their full rights, their leaders will turn to the noble task
  of impressing upon them the duties of citizenship. Outside of
  parliaments and law courts, the destiny of the nation's workers
  and employers is being shaped by the consciousness of right in
  the minds of the mass of the people."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "I have confidence that public opinion will, in most cases and
  in the long run, strike a true note. I have faith in the saying,
  'the people may make mistakes, but the people never lie.' Show
  the people what it all means, and the people will do what is
  right. They are learning the insufficiency of political catch
  words. They know that no political pill, call it by ever so
  attractive a word, is a cure for all ills."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Whatever course we may pursue we must not forget that it is but
  a means to an end. Machinery is good, so long as we remember
  that it is machinery. No system will, even for a short time,
  avoid industrial evils unless the people have respect for what
  is right and true and just. The present system has its omissions
  and its weaknesses, but it keeps in mind some of the principles
  of public policy, which experience has shown to be sturdy, sane
  and wholesome. I think it is a stride in the right direction. If
  men will but be true to themselves, a new era is dawning upon
  us; an era, which, if it will not be free of pain, hardship and
  suffering for many, will, while preserving a premium as a reward
  for the energetic, a punishment for the mean, leave the final
  judgment in industrial questions with public opinion, which, when
  informed, is ready to choose what is right in preference to what
  is base. The ultimate solution of industrial problems, now as
  never before, lies with the people at large, and all will be well
  if citizens will but discharge the duties of their citizenship."

                         _THE PURPOSE OF LIFE_

"I trust I may do my duty before God and man and realize the best that
is in me." These words are among the last in Harper's diary. Five
years before, referring to repeated disappointments and reverses he
had written: "I hope they will enable me to realize the high ideal of
my existence." The same lofty purpose was expressed in the opening
paragraph of his diary, already quoted. It reads:

"I am writing this record of my thoughts and actions in order that I
may be better able to understand myself; to improve in that wherein I
find myself wanting, and that some day I may be able to look back and
find a rule of development or perhaps of life, with its assistance. I
shall endeavour to be at least honest with myself, and hope that the
use of this book may help me occasionally, to sever myself mentally
from the associations of the world and retire within myself. My
hope is that some day I may be able to become acquainted with my own
individuality, and discover what is the first essential and object of
my existence."

If love for others was the ruling passion, the realization of a high
ideal was the constant purpose of Harper's life. He deliberately, at
an early age, looked in upon his life; regarded it as a trust given
him by the Creator to mould and fashion at his will; saw that it had
capacities which he believed to be infinite and divine; and sought, by
reflection and action, to unfold its meaning and to work out its end.
"There is a dreamy undercurrent in my whole make-up, which I have never
been able to understand, but which sometimes seems to me to be more
real than my waking life." Already the infinite mystery had become a
great reality to him. His search was not in vain. Before its close,

    "_He saw life clearly,_
     _And he saw it whole._"

Man found himself in a world surrounded by mortals like himself; two
theories were possible, either all was chance, or there was design.
If chance, there could be no ultimate meaning of things, no relation
between the parts, either between the universe and man, or man and his
fellows; truth and right there might be, by arrangement, but they could
not be absolute; duty might exist, but under what law? No, the world,
man,--these clearly were to be accounted for in some more rational way.
The only alternative was design. The finite mind, seeking to interpret
the Infinite, had invented a language, whereby, through the medium of
words, it sought to give expression to its thoughts. A creator and an
infinite purpose were essential to design; the creator, the finite mind
conceived of as God, the infinite purpose, His will. To know God and to
do His will became then the chief end of man.

From a consciousness of the mystery of his own being and of the
universe about him, the earliest perception of the infinite nature
of each and of their relation, came to Harper in the discovery of
what he was wont to call "the rule of law." In Nature he found it
first. In Nature there was no chance, all was cause and effect; there
was constant change, but no final destruction. "Immortal growth was
the prophecy which Nature made for man." What the eye of the senses
discovered in the physical world, the eye of the soul discerned to be
true of the inner life. Character was not the child of Destiny, the
shadow of Circumstance, it was the one immortal creation of which man
was capable. "What a man sows, that shall he also reap." In character
was the harvest of all that a man ever thought, or willed, or did.

And herein lay the greatness of life. An order in the universe, a
capacity in man to discover and interpret; Truth, the order; the path,
Right; Reason, lighted by the lamp of Conscience, might lead man to the
abode of God.

Without some satisfying of reason, Harper maintained there could be no
true inspiration of soul; for a belief to be vital, it was necessary
that its significance should be grasped, and its meaning comprehended.
It was secondary, therefore, _what_ a man believed, so long as he had a
reason for the faith that was in him, and was prepared to follow where
an honest search might lead. In the end, the meaning of life would be
clear. It was not against criticism or the critical spirit that he was
prone to object, but against such divorced from an honest and sincere
purpose. Honest criticism he believed was essential to clearer vision,
and, reverently pursued, strengthened belief.

It was the intellectual honesty of Matthew Arnold which attracted
Harper so strongly, and gave the writings of that author so great an
influence over his life. What he has written, in reference to his
reading of _Literature and Dogma_, is not without interest as showing
the effect which this book had upon him, and as disclosing his own
views in the matter of criticism and belief.

  "To-day," he writes, "I spent a good morning taking a look into
  _Literature and Dogma_, which, so far as I have read, is in
  entire accord with Matthew Arnold's clear, critical method of
  examination. I was anxious to get at his main thesis, and read
  several chapters, as well as the conclusion, and think that as
  a result my own views regarding Christianity have been rather
  strengthened. A quibble always annoys me, but Matthew Arnold's
  criticism is of a different sort. For my own part, I am convinced
  that the critical spirit is not indicative of meanness, but
  rather of balance and honesty of mind, and is calculated to
  create, not blind prejudice, but wholesome conviction. This is
  particularly the case where the critic has, as in the case of
  Matthew Arnold, imaginative power properly controlled, and a deep
  appreciation of love and beauty."

And some days later:

  "To-night I read several chapters of Matthew Arnold's _Literature
  and Dogma_, which, with what I have already read of the work,
  cleared my mind as to the main purpose of the author, the placing
  of our conception of the value of the Bible and of Christianity
  on a more stable and permanent basis. I feel confident that this
  will be the effect upon my own mind, for I thoroughly hold
  that a belief to be vital must be real to him who professes it.
  Indeed, the profession to others of what one believes, however
  important, is almost inevitably vague, or, at least, liable to
  be misunderstood. What is really important is for us to believe
  what we ourselves find believable and true before the bar of our
  inmost conscience. I find myself reaching out with eagerness to
  the thought, which seems an old one to me, that God is intimately
  associated with conscience; that conduct is important, but that
  rules of conduct institutionalized are apt to be external and
  wanting in vital force; and that it was the emphasizing of the
  importance of the personal, inward condition, which was the real
  strength and lasting service of the new dispensation.

  "I find my views clearing as time goes on. Latterly two thoughts
  have been, perhaps, more prominent than any others: the
  importance of constant choice in the matter of selection and
  rejection, and a respect for the conception of the many sidedness
  of truth, which conception brings with it a toleration for the
  views of others, particularly in the matter of religion. For
  given that religion is an inward personal matter, and that men
  are constituted so differently, their conceptions of the truth,
  itself single and indissoluble, if you will, must vary widely.
  Under such conditions the necessity of keeping in view the
  highest standard of life, as illustrated by Christ, becomes of
  the very greatest importance."

In the character of Christ, Harper found the answer to the question,
what is the purpose of life? That life appealed to him from every
side. It was the manliest of lives. Conscious of its greatness, it
could forbear to use its creative powers for selfish ends. It could be
governed by a principle, where a multitude could not attract. Bigotry,
passion and prejudice only added force to its invectives; ridicule and
calumny, dignity to its assertion of right. In the presence of the
strong, it could champion the cause of the weak; the rich it could make
to tremble at their neglect of the claims of the poor. In the midst of
opposition, it could stand alone; surrounded by temptation, it could
remain pure.

It was the manliest of lives. Chivalrous in its defense of woman,
tender in its love for little children, loyal in its allegiance to
friends. Uncompromising it was in its demands for truth, unsparing in
its rebuke of evil, relentless, almost violent, in its denunciations of
hypocrisy. Yet nowhere was such sympathy to be found; nowhere, greater
compassion; nowhere, forgiveness more sincere.

It was the manliest of lives, but it was also the simplest and the
best. In vain one searched for an account of material possessions; in
vain one looked for an assertion of worldly place or power; but it was
recorded that its cradle was a manger, its crown, a wreath of thorns.
The mountains, the woods, the sea, the flowers, the stars, were so
sought by, and so ministered to that life, as to be almost a part of
it. Simple fisher-folk of Galilee, devoted but humble women in the town
of Bethany, shared its companionship, the sorrowful and outcast, its

And withal, it had a mission, higher, greater than the world had
ever known. Clearly it saw into the mystery of the universe, deeply
it divined the meaning of the human soul. In words, as simple, as
beautiful, as the flower, or the name which suggested the thought,
it related the universe to man, and man to God. "Consider the lilies
how they grow!"--all that Nature had to teach was there, selection
and rejection, cause and effect, the unfailing operation of law, life
and death. "Our Father,"--obedience, love, trust, forgiveness, the
brotherhood of man, man's sonship under God.

Was it a matter of wonder then, that such a nature as Harper's should
be captivated by such a life? Having founded his belief on reason, in
the following after the perfect life of Christ, reason was soon outrun
by that which brought conviction of itself. Having learned something of
the secret and the method of that life, Harper came soon to believe the

    "_Ego sum via, veritas, vita,_
     _Sine via non itur, sine veritate non_
     _Cognoscitur, sine vita non vivitur._"

They came to be the controlling power in his life.

Harper sought the realization of his belief in conduct. His impurity,
his weakness, he contrasted with the strength and beauty of the life
of Christ, and daily sought with an earnest devotion to yield the
allegiance due to the higher ideal. Without many professions, he strove
silently for the attainment of a character which would make him, among
men, not unworthy of the ideal which he cherished in his heart.

The following passages may help to make good the truth of these words:

  "Idealism is not folly. It prevents folly. It is the main hope
  of a delirious world. It is the means of informing common sense.
  An ideal truly cherished is never lost, save to give place to a
  higher ideal. An ideal is not smashed by experience of frailty;
  but is rather thrown into greater relief. Ideals are dissipated
  only by the clearer view which comes with a widening horizon.
  Disappointment in persons will not make an idealist a cynic,
  unless he has no heart.

  "Unfortunately, all men are apt to reach out for the immediate
  thing which looms large before them. Some are worse than others.
  And it is only by trying to see things in perspective, by the
  application of common sense enlightened by idealism, that we can
  hope to be among the wiser. A constant regard for perfection,
  the constant cherishing of an intelligent idealism, will, I
  think, help a man 'in the midst of the crowd to keep with perfect
  sweetness the independence of solitude,'--Emerson's measure of a
  great man."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "On the place of churches in national and social life, I take
  the ground that the important thing for a man is his religion,
  what he actually believes regarding his relation to the universe,
  rather than his church affiliation. The first is individual
  and real, the latter more or less artificial and a matter of
  expediency, a means of assisting him in making easier the spread
  of the views which he holds; in fine, an institution, with an
  object doubtless, but none the less an institution, machinery."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "This has been a good day, in that life and human duty have been
  very real to me in it. In the afternoon H----, L---- and I walked
  out Bank Street to the canal, and, on the way back, I turned
  the conversation to the question of man's duty to himself and
  to others, taking the position that a man owed it to himself to
  make the most of himself, and that, if he ever earnestly started
  in on the task, he would find himself moved to see that his
  influence upon others was in the same direction, namely, towards
  perfection; that if men were once taught to see the working of
  the rule of law in this sense, they must inevitably recast their
  entire views of life to their own advantage and that of society;
  and that if the church, instead of saying do this, because this
  and that authority says it is right to do it, would appeal to a
  man's appreciation of what manhood means in this sense, there
  would be more Christlikeness among so-called professors of

       *       *       *       *       *

  "This, my birthday, has commenced most happily. As I lay last
  night on the couch in our comfortable little room, allowing my
  thoughts to run on into the future, and resolving to make this
  new year of my life one marked by real and substantial progress,
  ---- came to me about midnight with a birthday present, which, it
  seems to me, could not be more in keeping with my present state
  of mind and resolutions. The present consisted of two splendid
  engravings of Hoffman's _Christ, the Child_, and _Christ, and the
  Rich Young Man_. More and more, as time goes on, I am coming to
  realize that the virtues upon which the hopes of the world are
  based are to be found in that rich beautiful life of the Master.
  Humility, self-sacrifice and love, all that appeals to the
  noblest instincts of our nature, are to be found in the character
  of that perfect Man, who was 'despised and afflicted, yet opened
  not His mouth.'

  "Trammelled by a liberal share of human weakness, an unfortunate
  combination of high ambition and a tendency to frivolity, I
  can only hope to come to realize gradually all that that life
  represents. When one considers the wide-spread influence which
  even a comparatively obscure personality yields in this world,
  the awful responsibility which is attached to every act of
  volition, to every word and deed, is forced upon one. These and
  other weaknesses I must control, and my character I must seek
  to strengthen in order that my life shall not be useless, in
  order that I may realize dear mother's last wish, that we may
  meet 'There.' I must try, with the help of God, to more and
  more conform thought and act to the model of the perfect life
  of Christ, a life that if men and States would imitate, there
  would be an end to viciousness and of man's inhumanity to man.
  To be brought face to face, daily, with Hoffman's beautiful
  representation should make strong resolutions stronger and more
  possible of realization.

  "It is a beautiful day, the first really cold day of the winter.
  Rarely do I remember a clearer air, a brighter sun. To me, it is
  as if God smiles His approval on my resolutions. Pray God, I may
  be able to live them out in practice."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "I wrote to F---- to-night, and my heart went out strangely to
  him as I wrote. The thought which I wished most to convey to
  him, was the importance of combining nobility of mind with true
  humility in the sense in which Christ used the words; the truth
  in the simple but meaningful words of the beatitude, 'Blessed are
  the pure in heart for they shall see God'; and the necessity,
  with a view to the healthy upbuilding of a strong character, to
  'Be just and fear not.' The more I am brought into contact with
  the views of the world, the more I see the wealth of meaning in
  some of the scriptural sayings. If, as I trust, this expansion in
  the meaning of things goes on, life should be filled with more
  and more real happiness, especially if I am able to so master
  myself as to regulate my life in accord with the truth revealed
  to me."

       *       *       *       *       *

  "To-night I feel that what the world wants is more of
  forbearance, less of viciousness, more of sweetness and light,
  more of the spirit of Jesus Christ."

                             _A LAST WORD_

The love, the truth and the beauty of Harper's nature have nowhere
found better expression than in his last letters to his closest
friend. His heart is revealed there, as, only in such a relationship,
it is possible for hearts to reveal themselves. In the sanctuary of
Friendship, everything is holy; there abideth the love that "thinketh
no evil," the confidence that is never betrayed; at its threshold,
semblances disappear; having entered beneath its portals, there is no
longer anything to conceal.

The one to whom they were written was in British Columbia when these
letters were received by him. He had been sent by the government to
reconcile, if possible, the conflicting claims of labour and capital,
which at the time had assumed the proportions of a strike in one of
the mining towns of that province. In his absence, the department of
labour had come in for some criticism at the instance of the Canadian
Manufacturers' Association. Harper was anxious lest this should be a
matter of concern to his friend, and hastened to reassure him. The
letters are a true expression of himself. They reveal his standards,
his belief in truth, his appreciation of beauty, his conception of
duty, his trust in an overruling Providence, his deep concern for
humanity, and his love for his friend. All these, in him, were as
inseparable from each other as each was inseparable from his life.

He writes:

                                         "_Ottawa, Nov. 10, 1901._

  "I have been flying westward with you all week, weighing in my
  mind the chances of the success of your mission. It may be weak,
  this proneness to speculate upon the outcome of an issue in
  the future, but where one's feelings are so nearly concerned,
  one cannot but do it. Each time my thoughts have turned to the
  subject of your mission to the coast, my conclusion has been the
  same--you must succeed. To-day--the first breathing spell which I
  have had since you left--as I walked home in the bright sunlight
  and the brisk air, the conclusion has become conviction. I do
  not attempt to disguise the difficulties which confront you.
  Indeed, perhaps, I rather magnify them. Two camps of organized
  self-interest confront each other. Misunderstanding, bitterness
  and passion have much sway in each. But your strength lies in the
  fact that what you seek is fairness, truth and justice, as well
  as the promotion of industrial peace and the country's welfare.
  'Speak to his heart,' says Emerson, 'and the man becomes suddenly
  virtuous.' My dear Rex, I assure you it is not the prejudice of a
  friendship, which makes me miss you more than I care to confess,
  that tells me that it is not the strong arm of a commission, nor
  yet the power of public opinion, that is your strongest weapon
  in this important crisis; but the commanding influence of a
  high-minded manhood moved by noble impulses, and unalloyed by
  selfish motive. Success must crown your efforts.

  "This week has been an instructive one in many ways. You have
  doubtless noticed the conclusion of the Canadian Manufacturers'
  Association with regard to the _Labour Gazette_ and the
  department's work generally. The decision, though not unexpected,
  is an evidence of how much must be done, before men, whose
  business principles are but a reflection of their personal
  interests as they conceive them, can be brought to see that right
  reason will not be satisfied by any industrial scheme which
  leaves out of account consideration for the well-being of the
  great mass of the people. Mr. ----, in a conversation which I
  had with him on Friday, assured me that we ought not to worry
  over the verdict of the Manufacturers' Association. 'For,' as he
  put it, 'a department which stands for the recognition of the
  rights of working men cannot expect to be popular with selfish
  employers.' Speaking of the comparison made between the Canadian
  and United States Departments, I urged upon him the importance
  of the publication of a monthly Gazette as a means of making
  effective a policy which depends for its sanction upon public
  opinion. He agreed with me, and added, 'They talk of a quarterly
  publication, doubtless they would be better satisfied still if
  there were no publication at all.'

  "Mr. ----'s opinion was not necessary to reassure me in the
  matter of the Manufacturers' Association's criticism. The
  judgment which is really important is that of one's own
  conscience. Mine tells me that, however imperfect our work may
  have been, however much there may be room for improvement, what
  we have done has not been inconsiderable, especially when the
  difficulties under which we have laboured are considered. I am
  confident that the broad lines of policy which we have followed
  are right, and that our work, as our knowledge of existing
  conditions increases, will be of more and more value to the
  working men of Canada and to the country generally.

  "I miss you very much in the office, but still more out of it.
  Indeed when you are away I realize how much we are together.
  However, Rex, I need not assure you that I am constantly with
  you in thought. Your life has grown into mine to such an extent
  that your hopes and aspirations are mine as well. Take care of
  yourself, my dear Rex, and whatever may be the outcome of your
  mission, I know that you will have done your duty. When you are
  in the mountains think of one whose soul is also profoundly
  stirred by the message which great, glorious, beautiful Nature
  has for man.

  "With much love,
                      "Ever yours affectionately,

       *       *       *       *       *

                                        "_Ottawa, Nov. 13, 1901._


  "You must not take my official notes daily as a measure of my
  interest in your affairs here, your progress yonder, or your
  thoughtfulness in writing me such refreshing letters as those
  which you have written _en route_. And let me thank you for these
  letters, Rex. They take me with you as you go through that wildly
  grand country, the very thought of which makes the heart of a
  true Canadian bound with pride. The dating of your last, 'in
  the country of the foot-hills,' makes me think how eagerly you
  must be looking forward, as you wrote, to the prospect of the
  mountains. Perhaps you were fortunate enough to see them in the
  stern glory of a winter sunset. These things, like great pictures
  and noble thoughts, leave a permanent impress upon one's life,
  and I rejoice that the path of duty has led you through so much
  that is beautiful and sublime.

  "But hold, I am probably several chapters behind your present
  thought and work, for by now you will be wrapped up in the
  affairs of a mining town, interested in its mushroom growth, its
  throbbing, ill-digested life, and in the main object of your
  mission, the strike.

  "Perhaps it is this very mission of yours which has set my
  mind so strongly of late upon the question of man's duty. This
  afternoon, Harry, Laschinger and I took a long walk in the
  frosty air,--for winter has gripped Ottawa hard, ice covers the
  ground, ponds are frozen and the sky is stern and gray, and I
  found myself driven to turn conversation along this line. Is it
  because the church has so far drifted from truth that it succeeds
  so little in making the life of Christ a reality among men? I
  thoroughly hold that once convince a man of a truth, and that
  truth, even despite him, will become an active potent factor
  in his life. How are men to be convinced? The church says do
  this, because authority says it is right so to do. But men do
  not do it. Why? Because men do not come to vital conclusions
  upon the strength of authority, especially when they have their
  own opinions regarding the channels through which the authority
  filters. Is it not time that a different line should be
  followed? Tell men to do right because it is right to do right;
  because it is consonant with the law of their natures; because
  only by so doing will they realize themselves. And here we come
  to the great beauty, justice and potency of the appeal to the
  rule of law. Show a man that it is only by putting forth his best
  efforts towards what his best consciousness tells him to be right
  that he will make any progress satisfactory to his own nature,
  or in harmony with the eternal realities, and the shackles of
  petty ambitions fall from him. He becomes stronger and stronger.
  And in proportion as his own true strength increases, so will
  the appreciation of nature's laws and the character of Christ
  develop manly humility and a sense of duty to the world without
  him, a sense that his life is part of the lives of many others,
  as many as come within the almost unlimited sphere of his
  influence, and that he owes it to himself, as much as he owes it
  to them, that that influence shall also tend in the direction of
  perfection, the sweeping away of bitterness, passion, prejudice
  and viciousness in whatever form. Once bring home to a man the
  sense of personal duty in terms of inflexible and yet infinitely
  just law--law which, properly followed, makes for progress, if
  disobeyed, for confusion,--and you have put him on his feet with
  his face to his true goal in life. Herein, it seems to me, lies
  a reconciliation of the two injunctions: 'Bear ye one another's
  burdens,' and 'bear your own burden.' Do the latter, and you will
  find yourself doing the former, which is a good thing to do.

  "All of this is simple, Rex, even rudimentary, but to-night it
  has a strong hold upon me, and, as I have not you here to talk
  to, I am laying it before your sympathetic eye, that is if you
  have patience for it. Out there where the country is just finding
  itself, where standards are few and hastily put together, men are
  apt to emphasize the importance of the _immediate_ thing. Here in
  the East men try to get away from the truth by demanding 'of all
  the thousand nothings of the hour, their stupefying power.' Both
  sides of the continent have perplexities and heartaches for the
  well-wisher of mankind. But, however distressing may be the rash
  radicalism of British Columbia, I doubt if its position is not
  relatively better than that of the indifferent East. For where
  there is manly force and rude contact with nature--in Carlyle's
  sense--there is apt to be more of a result where an appeal is
  made, as it must be in both cases, to the manliness of men, the
  true-heartedness of true hearts. The main difference, it seems to
  me, lies in this, that British Columbia requires the curb, and
  the East the spur. Both need light. And the man who would give
  it to them must have their confidence, so much have men come to
  associate the truth and its exponent. Confidence requires trust
  and faith; and these, to be lasting, must be based upon strength
  and honesty in the individual who would be the guide. Hence it
  behooves every man who would be of lasting service to his country
  to see that he, too, is clean.

  "But I see I am going far afield again. I miss you, Rex, very
  much. The meaning of an individual is sometimes emphasized when
  the individual is absent from the associations which are eloquent
  of his individuality. The Canadian Manufacturers' Association to
  the contrary notwithstanding, your work is neither superficial
  nor ephemeral. It is of the very essence of a force which is
  calculated to prove a strong lever in regulating the labour
  movement, and indeed other movements as well, in Canada. It is
  my happiness to be associated with you in that work. I think
  I comprehend its nature and its importance, immediate and even
  prospective, and I trust I may prove true to its demands and

  "But I must get down to my night's work, Rex. The house is
  singularly quiet, without any movement in the adjoining room, but
  that does not excuse the sacrifice of opportunity.

  "With best wishes and much love,
                        "Affectionately yours,

And nothing, not even the loss of life itself, did excuse, with Harper,
"the sacrifice of opportunity."

        "In the common round
    Of life's slow action, stumbling on the brink
    Of sudden opportunity, he chose
    The only noble, godlike, splendid way,
    And made his exit, as earth's great have gone,
    By that vast doorway looking out on death."

Harper was drowned on the sixth of December. Three days later, on the
twenty-eighth anniversary of the day of his birth, they buried him on
the crest of a hill overlooking the village in which he was born. Thus
does Destiny, linking the cradle with the grave, leave us to wonder
over the mysteries which she delights to weave.

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