29 JANUARY 1910, Page 16


[To ram EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR:I Sus,—I greatly regret that statements should have been made which imply that the Bradfield College Ranch provides " soft " conditions for the boys who are to be trained for Canadian life. The subsequent explanations that have been given may not overtake the original words. I am in a position to speak with some degree of knowledge, for I have not only read Dr. Gray's pamphlet, but am thoroughly familiar with the ranch and the work that goes on there, having visited the place twice. I had indeed the privilege of being in Dr. Gray's company at the time he purchased the property, and as my stay in Canada extended beyond his, I was able to pay a seccnd visit after his departure, and to complete on his behalf a few unfinished arrangements, in the course of doing which I became acquainted with every circumstance of the case. Further, I may say that a son of my own has been on the ranch for five months, and from him I receive weekly accounts of his life there. Knowing these facts, I desire to say that any language, whether serious or jocular, which repre- sents this scheme as intended to save English boys from the humiliation of soiling their hands conveys an impression which is not only incorrect, but the flat opposite of the truth. I will not go into detail, though I could produce detailed evidence in abundance, but will only state from my own knowledge that all the conditions which promote hardihood, industry, and endurance, including work which soils not only the hands but the whole man from top to toe, are present in full measure on Bradfield Ranch. Any believer in wholesome "roughing it" as part of a boy's education will not be dis- appointed when he becomes acquainted with the actual conditions which Dr. Gray has provided. But if be requires as an element in "roughing it" that a boy shall share a mattress with a Galician or Pole, that he shall have no means of washing himself or his clothes, that he shall scramble for uneatable food, and be one of a gang composed of half-a. dozen nationalities, then it must be confessed that Dr. Gray's scheme does not meet his wants. But it is precisely because the scheme has eliminated such things, while retaining all the conditions that make for hardy and industrious manhood, that Dr. Gray may be congratulated on having removed one of the greatest obstacles to the emigration of the best sort of English boys to Canada. In my opinion, the scheme represents a great service to the Empire.—I am, Sir, &c.,