They were thieves who became rich while impoverishing others.
The task of liberalism down through the ages has been to resist the predators, to see that the law is not used to despoil society, to see that every man gets what he earns, and, equally important, to see that every man earns what he gets.
All my life I have been a liberal. Liberal with a small “l.” The party that calls itself Liberal in Canada has not been truly liberal since Laurier betrayed liberalism in the early years of our century. Genuine liberalism seeks to remove the government regulations which permit certain classes to exploit the rest of the community, and then to let the natural law of supply and demand take over. This is the authentic doctrine of laissez-faire, as put forward by the early English economists.
Macaulay, whom I have already quoted, put the thing very neatly: “The function of government is two fold: to see that we get our living by industry rather than by rapine; to see that we settle our differences by arbitration rather than by blows.” In other words, to see that we don’t steal and don’t fight. The term “laissez-faire” was afterwards distorted by the privileged classes to mean that governments should not take steps to relieve the misery of the poor. It meant nothing of the sort. Justice, embodied in the free operation of economic law, is not incompatible with mercy. One of the best definitions of liberalism that I know is in the bible in the book of Micah” “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
Thievery has always been the curse of humanity, and to it may be ascribed many of our economic and social ills. Theft may be defined as the process of taking something, whether from individuals or from society at large, and giving in return nothing, or less than its true value. Thieves may be divided into three classes. First, those who operate outside the law: pickpockets, highwaymen, burglars, forgers. Their depredations are annoying, but in the aggregate not fatal: we catch many of them and put them in jail. Second, those who steal within the law: land speculators, stock manipulators, price fixers. Their take is very much greater than that of the first class, but since they break no existing law they cannot be punished. I recently read a magazine article by a highly respected multimillionaire who told how he had acquired his wealth. Unlike doctors, waitresses, carpenters, teachers, ministers of the Gospel, he had produced nothing and given no service: he had simply devised a foolproof method of playing the stock market. Other men were poorer because he was richer, and this, I think, is the acid test. In other words he was a thief.
The third and most dangerous class are those who are cunning enough to make the law steal for them. After the Norman Conquest, the barons; despotic kings and the extravagant court; slave holders; and in this modern age, most dangerous of all, the tariff racketeers. The task of liberalism down through the ages has been to resist the predators, to see that the law is not used to despoil society, to see that every man gets what he earns, and, equally important, to see that every man earns what he gets. Justice first, but justice does not preclude mercy. And the conscientious citizen will find that the more justice there is, the less mercy will be required. “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” [This quotation is inscribed on left side of their headstone.]
— Farmer Premier: The Memoirs of E.C. Drury, E. C. Drury, McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1966, p. 197-8.
At Crown Hill, southeast corner of Highways 11 and 93 (Penetanguishene Road).
Hon. Ernst Charles and Ella A. Partridge Drury.
Mrs. Drury taught in Midhurst before marrying on January 11, 1905 (see S.S. No. 6, 1901 class photograph).