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Catholic Problems in Western Canada by Daly

Co operating with the various universities


If

the change that takes place in the mind and conscience of the individual is a slow and subtle process, what should we not expect when there is question of a nation? Yes, the process is slow but it is sure. The permeation of evolutionism into every domain of human thought is a recent and most striking illustration of it. This fact stands out conspicuously on the pages of history. "Lord Acton's view of history," said Shane Leslie, "was that ideas, not men or events, made the differences between one era and the next." The mind is always the storm centre of revolutions, the breeding ground of the most conflicting theories. The great storms that sweep over humanity always gather on the high summits of religion and philosophy, blackening the mental horizon; sooner or later, they break out on the lower plains of the economic social and political world, spreading everywhere revolution and destruction. The blasphemous Proudhon gave utterance to a great truth when he wrote: "It is surprising how at the bottom of every political problem we always find some theology involved." We lay stress upon this aspect of universities, for, in our mind, from a catholic view-point, it is of the greatest importance in the discussion of the present issue.

The university is not only the focus of the intellectual life of a country; by its research work, by its applied science it becomes also the very fountain head of all national progress and prosperity. The natural

resources lie dormant, the soil--that perennial source of wealth, is stagnant, the export-trade of manufactured goods and agricultural products is at its lowest ebb, until touched by the magic wand of the university expert. It is he who discovers, develops and shows how to make use of with profit, the hidden wealth of the land. The research bureaus instituted by the Government of Canada and the United States, co-operating with the various universities, are now considered as the most important factors of national prosperity. The Reclamation Service of the U.S. by irrigation, drainage and the pulling of stumps will reclaim nearly 300 million acres for colonization. To bring the economic value of a university nearer home to us, who does not know the beneficial influences of Saskatoon University on the agricultural pursuits of Saskatchewan? This relation of the university and the material prosperity of a country is so marked that the Mosely Educational Commission sent by England to the United States, most strongly emphasized that living connection and necessary correlation between the universities and the industrial and manufacturing prosperity of the United States.

A university is therefore not a mere luxury, but rather a necessary asset in a nation's life. "The development of the true spirit of the University among a people is a good measure of the development of its soul, and consequently of its civilization" (Haldane). "No country," we will conclude with "Catholic" in the Antigonish Casket, "ever attained to any degree of political influence, nor have any people ever risen from a lower to a higher level of intellectual and social culture, without the light and inspiration that flow from a genuine university." This vision was before the eyes of Cecil Rhodes who founded scholarships throughout the British Empire. These scholarships glean every year in the wide fields of the Empire the brightest minds and throw them as a beautiful sheaf at the foot of the great English Alma Mater, Oxford. Millions and millions have been left for the same purpose to the American Universities.


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