- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 1 May 1919, p. 264-275
- Rathbone, Henry R., Speaker
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- Item Type
- Unity of the Anglo-Saxon race as the hope of the world today, and why that is so. Ways in which the British and American nations are by far the mightiest in the world. How Britain and America have demonstrated that they possess the genius for government. The British Empire and the United States as natural Allies. Britain and America as the moral nations of the world, and what the speaker means by that. Cautioning against letting down efforts at maintaining peace. Standing together in partnership, friendship, and sentiment. The need to draw together more closely without suspicion; how that might be done. The British and American common heritage.
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- 1 May 1919
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- Full Text
- THE TIE THAT BINDS
AN ADDRESS BY HENRY R. RATHBONE, ESQ..
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
May 1, 1919.
THE CHAIRMAN: As a rule, gentlemen, I stay away from lawyers just as long as I can, because experience has taught me that it costs money to come too closely into association with them. However, it was au, to the courtesy and kindness of the then President of the Ontario Bar Association, Mr. Harding, that I was privileged to attend the annual banquet of that organization in February last, and owing specially to the fact, perhaps I should say because of the fact that most of those present were lawyers, I spent a very profitable and enjoyable evening. We had an excellent banquet and several fine speakers, and just about the time that we began to realize that things were dry and prohibition obtained in the Province of Ontario, Mr. Henry R. Rathbone flashed across the horizon and from that moment on, for thirty or thirty five minutes, we listened in rapt attention to one of the most eloquent addresses we have ever listened to in Toronto. (Applause.) There are some business men who say that the worker is not a talker, and vice versa; but that is a failure as far as our distinguished guest is concerned, because not only is he one of the most eloquent speakers in the United States, but he has been one of the most inde
Mr. Rathbone was one of the outstanding figures at the Annual Meeting of the Ontario Bar Association held in Toronto early in 1919. He has filled many important public and political positions and during the war devoted his entire time to various lines of Patriotic work. He is a warm friend of Great Britain and her Allies and has done much to promote closer relations between Great Britain and the United States.
fatigable workers in connection with the war since it began. I doubt very much whether any man in the United States has done more in eloquent speaking than he; or done more really practical work than Mr. Rathbone. I now have much pleasure in calling upon Mr. Rathbone to address us on the "Tie that Binds." (Applause.)
HENRY R. RATHBONE, ESQ. : Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Empire Club,-I thank you sincerely for this cordial reception. I feel that I may regard it as another indication of that kindly spirit that you entertain for my country and my countrymen. (Applause.) Unity of the AngloSaxon race is today the hope of the world. (Applause.) Not unity of government, no one dreams of such a thing; no such sentiment exists. Not even uniformity of manners, customs, laws; for variety within reasonable bounds is always good for men and nations. The unity I have in mind is something far deeper than that, a unity of purposes, of ideals, of souls. (Applause.) Britain and America occupy today a unique place on this globe. They form, as it were a natural partnership, capable of moulding the fates and shaping the destinies of mankind. To no other nation or nations is there given at this crisis of 'the world's history such an opportunity and such a responsibility. They are the twin pillars that uphold, and must continue to uphold, the world's temple of progress, prosperity and peace. (Applause.) These are broad statements, I realize, and perhaps you are asking on what do I base them. Four reasons I will assign.
First, these two nations are by far the mightiest in this world. They have emerged from the great conflict the least damaged of any of the active belligerents. Look at the fate of others: Germany is prostrate in the dust, Austria is no more. Russia is throttled by Bolshevism and drenched with blood. China, with her more than four hundred millions is only turning in her sleep and not yet awakened from the dream of ages. Japan is awakened, active, enterprising, aggressive; but no yellow race can ever assume the leadership of the dominant white races of this world. (Applause.) And our Allies--gallant Italy is staggering under the immense burden imposed by this war. Heroic France-that we all love and honor for her gallant struggle-(Applause.) her fields are devastated, her best industries destroyed. She, too, has a mountain of debt to carry, and besides with forty millions of people, no matter how brilliant and active they may be, they cannot expect leadership beside the hundreds of millions of the British Empire and the United States of America. (Applause.) It is true that these two great peoples in accumulated wealth, in natural resources, in the energy of their peoples, and above all in the great room for future growth and development-these two stand today splendidly supreme among the nations of the world.
Second, Britain and America have demonstrated that they possess the genius for government. They have shown that they have been able to solve the great problem which has been the despair of political philosophers from Aristotle to De Tocqueville, viz., how to join immense size with freedom and efficiency. In saying these things I cast no slur on other governments; I wish to honor and be fair to all. I recognize such a country as Switzerland, and what her government has done for the contentment and prosperity of its people. But nevertheless, after all has been said, this remains true: the two great nations Britain and America are the ones of all the nations of the world that have been successful in giving practical scope and success on a large scale to the principle of federation. Look at the British Empire; before this great war came, there were men, enemies most of them of that Empire, who said as .Professor Rudolph Eucken and Treitschke in his work said "The British Empire is a sham; there is no Imperial Tie; at the first blow it will fall asunder." And then they reached forth the mailed hand to tear it asunder, and what happened? The next moment they saw, astounded, the loyal sons of Britain from all over the globe rise up in defence of the Mother Land across the seas. They saw her loyal sons rushing from Canada, from India, from South Africa; from -Australia, from New Zealand, from the farthest islands of the sea, from the remotest corners of the earth, ready to lay down their lives, their treasure and their all on the altar of their common country. (Applause.) Then the whole world realized the great truth that the foundations of empire are not found in constitutions or statutes, in law books or musty parchments, nor are they found in armies and navies, but in the hearts and souls of men. (Applause.) You remember the old fable of the contest between the wind and the sun, as to which should prevail in making the traveller cast aside his cloak. The wind tried first with all its fury, but the wayfarer only drew his cloak all the more tightly about himself for protection. Then came the sun with its mild radiance, and the cloak was cast aside as a useless incumbrance. That marks the difference between the old time Imperialism of Rome and the Imperialism of Germany, if you will, founded on the principle of might, the strong arm of power, and that mild radiance of British Rule, equitable and just, that has been able to accomplish what all the fierce blustering of the tempest in vain essayed. We realize the great truth, as Edmund Burke said "Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the surest wisdom; and a great Empire and little minds go ill together." There has been established somehow between these scattered peoples all over the globe, that constitute this great Empire, a tie stronger than human hands or law can impose, a tie light as air, but strong as bands of iron. And is not the same thing to be said truthfully of the United States. Go back with me into her history, when we were only a few scattered colonies and were groping about for some closer tie, thinking of forming a constitution, and many of the wise men of that day shook their heads and said you can never take these colonies, scattered a" they are, and weld them together into one great nation. But gentlemen we did do so, and it has stood the test of time for over one hundred years, and the storms of war, and it stands greater and stronger today than ever before. (Applause.) And now every day the leaven is working. Right in my own home; I have seen the movement for the Americanization of the foreigners among us, and welding them into the
body and soul of our people. What does that mean? It means the insistence on the English language as our language, (Applause.) and the fundamental principles of Anglo-Saxon law and freedom as our principles. That spirit has gone forth and shown itself in the PanAmerican Union of the twelve republics belonging to Central and South America, and it has already brought about results, and Britain and America have dedicated this entire Western Hemisphere as a land of peace. Our boundary line of over three thousand miles is unguarded by a warship, a soldier, a fort or a gun today, (Applause.) because of the genius of our people for wise and honest government.
Thirdly, the British Empire and the United States are natural Allies; there is a tie that naturally binds them together. What does that mean to the human race at this time? It means, oh, how much! that the two mightiest nations of the world are the very ones that ought to be able to work to the best advantage, and in harmony together! (Applause.) We realize that this situation has been growing and developing for years; quietly, unobtrusively it has been coming. Our early disputes as to boundaries were settled; Daniel Webster and Lord Ashburton, Lord Bulwer and Clayton settled them. At times relations were strained, for instance during our Civil War when the Trent Affair took place. But thank God, across the seas was England's Noble Queen and Her Royal Consort, (Applause) who modified the somewhat unconciliatory and harsh tone of the message; and a man on this side of the ocean whose fame has been growing year by year throughout the world, Abraham Lincoln. (Applause.) When the jingoes cried out for war and to sustain Admiral Wilkes,in his capture of Mason and Sliddell, Lincoln said "No, to do so would be to repudiate the very principles we have been contending for four years. We cannot afford to, and we will not, take a stand in favor of the wrong." These are the things that cement and unite the friendship of nations. As Emerson said "We have a great deal more of kindness than is ever spoken." I picked up an old book of my fa'ther's the other day "Greater Britain," by Sir Charles Dilke, published in 1866, after his visit to America, and there he tells of a little incident. He had met a Southerner, who at once started on a terrific tirade against England, and then he said, "But before you leave this country, you must come and visit me," and Sir Charles comments upon that as showing the underlying feeling beneath the surface, of friendship. And in that great book by James Bryce, one of the most illuminating treatises in all the world on the subject of nations, the American Commonwealth, his first sentence has a deep significance. The question that is asked of 'the British visitor in the United States is "What do you think of our institutions?" Lord Bryce attempts to account for that by saying that he supposes the American institutions were regarded as especially novel and of especial interest to all the world. No doubt that is true but there is another explanation: To my mind, that question when asked by an American showed that under the surface the American people valued the good opinion of their neighbors across the seas, and what speaks more loudly of friendship than that? All these things are working towards a great result. You remember that incident, when suddenly during the Spanish War the Philippine Islands were laid as a waif at the door of the United States. We had our White Man's Burden then, as you have had it for years. We meant to meet that duty and that responsibility. Then came the German with his swashbuckling, saber-rattling policy, and wanted to reach forth and seize these islands, and Admiral Dewey sent the German Admiral that message that if he wanted war, he could have war, and then a significant thing happened: At the hour of crisis a British War vessel took its station beside the fleet of the United States, and made known to the world that the solidarity and friendship of the AngloSaxon race was a fact assured. (Applause.) Gentlemen, realizing what this friendship means to ourselves and all humanity, it will be our fault if we do not do all in our power to maintain and cement it.
Fourthly, these two nations are the moral nations of the world. (Applause.) Now don't misunderstand me. Neither your country nor mine wishes to play the part of the national pharisee standing on the street corner with a sneer, and thanking God that we are not as the publicans and sinners of other lands. We do not claim any monopoly of virtue. We pay tribute to noble standards everywhere. But what I do mean is this: I mean that in our international relations, the people of the British Empire and the United States are actuated by purer motives, and inspired by loftier ideals than the people of any other countries. (Applause.) In the magnanimity and forbearance that they both have shown for conquered people, in their scorn to exploit them, or to 'try to turn them to account to their own selfish advantage, they stand alone. What other nations in the world at this time are so honestly seeking not their own good but the good of all.? There is but one answer. Britain has moulded this great Empire together through the bonds of justice and through wise rule. Gentlemen, pardon me, for the last thing that I wish to do today is to be bombastic or boastful on behalf of my country, realizing that it has defects. But still I want to say this for the United States: .Haven't we kept our word in our international relations? (Applause.) When we sprang to the rescue o£ suffering Cuba, our Congress passed the Platt Amendment, saying our sole purpose was to give freedom to Cuba and let her have free government. When we won that prize, then the voice came of selfishness, whispering "You have the pearl of the Antilles; you have one of the richest spots on earth; disregard your promise, given without consideration, and keep what you have." The American Congress and the American people rose above that, and said "We have given our plighted word, and we are going to keep it; we will free Cuba." (Applause.) What have we done in the Philippines? We have done as you have done with your dependencies. We have reached forth and raised a barbarous people out of darkness into the sunlight of freedom. In these islands where once there was nothing but venality and corruption and misrule and ignorance and oppression and tyranny, now we can see
homes and churches and schools and books and the vision of a free and enlightened people. (Applause.) Again we dug the Panama Canal, and it cost a tremendous sum of money. It was what Lord Bryce has called "The greatest liberty that man has taken with nature." Then again interest whispered "Keep it"; don't give other nations the same advantages and the same rights that you have given to yourselves, disregard the old treaties." Gentlemen, I ask you if we did not rise above that? If Britain and all the nations of the world have not been treated fairly in that respect? (Applause.) The moral law must be the foundation-stone of any permanent peace. From time to time peoples and rulers have exclaimed "Away with this moral law, it is but a scrap of paper, let us tread it under foot, let us wipe it out." But, gentlemen, the moral law has always risen again, and we can never have a League of Nations unless it is founded on that principle as the corner-stone. (Applause.) When that time comes, then we will be ready to adopt this as the maxim of our international conduct. "Nothing can be right between nations that is wrong between men." (Applause.) Then we will have, and not until then, the Federation of the world.
At this critical hour let us not make a mistake-It is so easy to do it. It is so easy to feel a reaction after the great struggle and all its sacrifices. Gentlemen, as that thought came to me, I read the words of the closing sentences of the great essay of Ralph Waldo Emerson, on "Self-Reliance," that I think marks the high water mark of my country's literature, in which he speaks of how men gamble with fate. We have all been gambling with 'this dreadful game of the iron dice of war. He says "A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, the return of your absent friend or some other favorable event raises your spirits and you think good times are preparing for you. Do not believe it. Nothing can give you peace but yourself. Nothing can give you peace but the triumph of principles." That was said of the individual man but it is true also of nations. No matter how we may glory in the great victory, no matter if we
think good times are coming and we can let down in our efforts, don't believe it. The League of Nations cannot accomplish it alone; nothing can give peace to this world but ourselves, the people of these two great nations. Nothing can give us permanent peace but the triumph of principles. These are the things that are going.to make this league permanent and possible. It must come by the gradual process of evolution. As it is now, Britain and the United States form the natural nucleus of this league of nations; they are the centre, the core around which it may be grouped, nation by nation, adhering to it as by a process of natural crystallization. Then you will at least form a sound and enduring league, a temple of peace that will be founded not on the ever shifting sands of selfishness and greed, but on the eternal rock of the Anglo-Saxon worldjustice and liberty, and there it will stand forever. (Applause.) To my mind, this problem, complex as it may seem, is after all plain and simple. I would reduce it to just this one thought: If Britain and America stand together for the right, no combination of nations in the world dare oppose them for the wrong. (Applause.) How shall we bring about this great result, this consummation that we all so devoutly wish for? Well, the first thing to do is to recognize its importance, to realize what it really means for this world. Then again let us watch the small things of life. Oh, it is the little pin pricks, more than the stab of the dagger that can bring about pain and suffering. Gentlemen, let our attitude toward each other be right, neither cringing nor truckling. I am against both Anglophobia and Anglomania, but I am heart and soul for Anglo-Saxondom. There is no suspicion among us of superior or inferior; we meet as equals, as men of honor to mould and shape, the destinies of mankind, and we can do it. Let us help in every way we can.
We have stood together. Reason advocates this partnership, and friendship and sentiment bid us follow in that course. My country and yours have stood shoulderto
shoulder in this most tremendous conflict of all history. Our enemies, yours and mine, said the same thing of your country and of my country before the war came. They said "Neither Britain nor America can fight." But we showed them; when I say "we" I mean both equally. We gathered our raw levies from the factory and the field and the countinghouse and the farm. In a few months we trained them, equipped them, and sent them across three thousand miles of ocean, something that had never been done before in the history of the world. Our boys, yours and mine, were pitted, not against the poorest, but against the best men that they had on the other side. They met in battle the famous .Prussian Guards and they sent those Guards reeling backwards towards Berlin in defeat; I am proud of our boys. (Cheers.) Side by side our boys lay in the wet and mud and cold of the trenches of Europe; side by side in the hospitals of pain. Side by side they stood guard. Side by side they leapt over the top and charged across no man's land in the storm of shot and shell. Side by side, at this moment, gentlemen, they sleep there in that foreign soil, and the harvest of spring is above their union in 'the grave. If they were comrades in arms, we ought to be friends in peace. Oh, let us pay no attention to any loose talk on either side of the border. There is but one attitude for any reasonable, rightminded honest man to take. It is just like a great football game. All the players assist, those that sustain the onslaught of the enemy, those that drive the ball toward the goal, those that finally kick the goal, there is glory enough for all. America does not claim all the glory. Pay no attention to that. Any loose talk like that does not represent the spirit and thought of my people. (Applause.) We do not claim to have won the war, but we do claim to have helped to win the war. (Applause.) I for one have but one sentiment for the soldiers, living and dead, British and American; cheers for the living and tears for the dead. They were gallant and brave men; they all performed glorious deeds; they all are entitled to eternal gratitude from a rescued world. Let that cement our bonds of friendship forever. Let us draw together more closely without suspicion. Send us the best that you have of your heart and soul and brain and we will welcome them. Come and visit us in our country. Let us interchange. .Let your universities and schools draw more closely together with ours. As a college man, a graduate of Yale, I know what that meant with Harvard and Princeton. Let us have our athletics together. Let us have our debates. Send us your splendid speakers, as you have been doing, but give us more and we will try and send them to you. Let the public press of both countries speak and try to interpret the best that is in the soul of each nation to the other. (Applause.)
De Quincey, in one of his essays speaks of the "Glorious English Language,"-the common heritage of us all; he says that a man ought to be willing to circumnavigate the globe, to endure suffering and sacrifice to maintain that English language in its pristine purity, and in its unimpaired vigor. If that is true of the English language, how much more is it true of the Anglo-Saxon race today throughout the globe? Every man ought to be willing to do his share. I for one, speaking for myself,--in your presence today would regard it as a privilege to be able to go forth carrying the message; if any feeble words of mine anywhere spoken could tend to cement that feeling of friendship, I would be glad to do it.. (Applause.) I welcome and appreciate this invitation to be here today. If any words of mine have reached fertile soil I am amply repaid. Let us work together, realizing what this means to the human race. So gentlemen, I bid you farewell, I leave off as I began=Britain and America, comrades in arms, descendants and brothers of the same lineage, champions of the same ideals the world over.--Let their glorious banners, side by side, lead the nations of the world in one great, harmonious, triumphal procession towards a glorious destiny. Britain and America, now and forever, the hope o f the world. (Cheers, long continued.)
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been a great pleasure, indeed; to welcome such a distinguished gentleman as the speaker of the day. I am sure, however, he will not mind if I say to him that it is an equal pleasure to welcome back to our club one of our old members in the person of Major Geary. (Applause.) I am going to ask Major Geary if he will, on behalf of the club, present our thanks to the speaker.
MAJOR REGINALD GARY: Mr. President and Gentlemen,-It has been very inspiring to hear the words that have fallen from Mr. Rathbone here today. In these days when peace seems almost trembling in the balance it must help and assist these two great nations, Britain and the United States, to come together in common effort to have their ideals expressed so eloquently, before an audience so representative as this.
Sir, I have much pleasure on behalf of the Empire Club in giving you our heartfelt thanks for your attendance here today. Your words have fallen, I am sure, on fertile soil, they will bear results. You can feel assured that your effort today has not been wasted. You have come here at some sacrifice to yourself, and I can only say to you on behalf of this large gathering that we do, one and all, immensely appreciate your coming here, and the words you have so eloquently said in your inspiring address. (Applause.)