CREATING THE CANADIAN ARMY 53
Live-wire defences were erected round certain radio-telegraph stations which were still kept in action. The appearance of mysterious aeroplanes began to be reported from various points, especially in the neighbourhood of the Capital, and the Intelligence Department began to get busy acquiring information concerning the possibility of raids by German emissaries, or German sympathizers from across the border. All these various measures and precautions were, however, only incidental to the actual calling out of the military forces of Canada for the general defence of the Empire.
War broke out on August 4th, 1914, at midnight. This is the official date of the commencement of hostilities. But of the condition of affairs just previous to that date the Prime Minister of Canada has spoken in words which are already historical:
"The storm," he said, "broke suddenly and the country was confronted with responsibilities greater than it had ever faced. The situation demanded action; it demanded immediate and unhesitating action beyond the authorization of the law as it then stood; it was impossible for the Government to wait; and by Orderin-Council we promulgated necessary measures in advance of the meeting of Parliament. The people of Canada acquiesced loyally in those measures and our course has been ratified by the necessary legislative sanction."
On the 1st of August, the Prime Minister had sent a secret telegram to the Home Government offering, on behalf of Canada, to supply an expeditionary force in case need should arise. The British authorities still clung to the hope that hostilities might yet be averted and expressed their gratitude for the offer, but declined its immediate acceptance. On the 6th of August, came a formal acceptance—war having been formally declared in the interval. That very day the raising and equipping of such expeditionary force was formally authorized by the Dominion Government. On the 7th of August, the Colonial Office telegraphed on behalf of the Army Council