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192   DAYS OF PREPARATION

ordinary demands of the time. No unborn generations of Canadians will pay them. They are evidence there-fore in a special sense of the strength of the Canada of the present day, no less than of the greatness of an idea and its power of appeal to a free people.

2. CANADA'S LOVE-GIFTS

In the John Ross Robertson Collection in the Public Library of Toronto there is a glass case containing a little white flag bearing a roughly-made red cross. The inscription on the case informs us that:

"This Red Cross Flag

Was improvised during the North-West Rebellion by Deputy Surgeon-General G. Sterling Ryerson, M.D., M.L.A., and was used in an engagement at Fish Creek, April f24, and at Batoche, May 9-12, 1885, and was presented by him to the Public Library,

Toronto 1897."

This flag did far more than mark a hospital tent. It symbolized the entrance of Canada into the international compact by which the sign of the Red Cross was held to ensure safety, through neutrality, to the sick and wounded soldier, together with the persons and property necessary for his care.

Fifty years ago, the idea of such an international agreement took shape in the mind of Henri Dunant, of Geneva, who, in 1859, on the field of Solferino, had witnessed the agonies of the untended wounded, and vowed to devote his life to the prevention and alleviation of such suffering. His description of the horrors of the battle-field, recorded in his Souvenir de Solferino, aroused public attention and prepared the way for remedial action.

Dunant records that he found himself upon the battle-field because Florence Nightingale's work and experience had directed his attention to the pitiable condition of


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