L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia
[For the citation, see the end of the text]
In concluding there are some eloquent facts, which may justifiably be reiterated although they are almost self-evident. As we resurvey the long period under discussion we are sure that there has been a great and progressive improvement and development in the French Canadian récit and chronique. Furthermore there is every reason to suppose that this development will go on with ever increasing rapidity. Possessing as they do all the elements of real freedom together with the natural resources to support a very much larger population indeed, there can hardly fail to come the day and that speedily when French Canadian authors possessed of racial qualities of splendid excellence combined with the independence of a great new land will rank with the world's best. Then will be known the true worth and sublime spirit of those pioneers, who despite many difficulties and discouragements have blazed the trail of glory.
Two main points strike the outside observer as of special moment in aiding this development.
First, there should be a still closer relation to the mother country. The former cleavage was well based, there is no doubt. But that the spirit of the New France of Europe may be able and should as a lofty obligation endeavor to bridge this formerly wide separation, one may well believe.
Next there is the supreme duty of greater thoroughness and greater solicitude in the matter of education, particularly higher education. It is with no failure to realize not only the noble efforts of the past (efforts made with insufficient financial support) nor the other fact that at the present time this is in many respects the problem of all nation, that this is said.
As one observes the supreme necessity of attaining the highest possible development of civilization whether in literature or elsewhere one is impressed more than ever before by the tremendous need of much greater thoroughness and emphasis on genuine study, which has of late on this continent at least seemed crowded out by a multitude of minor matters, and more particularly the need for giving every aid of prestige and power to disinterested culture as a counterpoise to the extraordinary development of materialism. Unless this is done, the war will have been fought in vain and the literature as well as the life of nations as of individuals will be irrevocably lost. All honor to the constant cherishing in the past, as revealed constantly in the books illustrative of the genres concerned, of noble aims and high ideals by the teachers of Quebec . Under their fostering care for the moral tone of their students the course of French Canadian literature cannot fail to be successful.
A democratic people, more than the inhabitants of an autocracy, needs education. Considering the problem from this standpoint there can hardly fail to be in French Canada, a present need as never before for the most generous support financially and otherwise for the instructional forces of the country, for on them peculiarly depends the future progress of so fine and so interesting a literary movement.
Source: Charles Frederick WARD, "Conclusion", in The Récit and Chronique of French Canada , Montreal , Librairie G. Ducharme, 1921, 44p., pp. 43-44. Minor editing and typographical errors have been corrected.
© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College