- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 20 Dec 1923, p. 364-379
- Shatford, Rev. Canon A.P., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The true transcription of the Scripture phrase as “Peace on Earth to Men of Good-will.” This reading bringing out clearly the sentiment that we can never hope to have peace on earth until we have good-will amongst the people of the earth. Good-will as the cause, and peace as the effect. Peace to follow as an inevitable result of our ability to establish good-will amongst the nations. Results of the speaker’s study and observations at close range for three months last summer, conditions across the Atlantic. The first observation that the disease of the world today is Touchiness, with some illustrative examples and explication from the French, the Germans, the English, and applying also to those on this side of the Atlantic. The second word calling for emphasis that of Fear. Fear as probably one of the most prolific causes of war in the long history of humanity. The great fear in Germany of revolution. Fear in England in the form of not very much hope for the future; fear for the days to come. The word Courage and evidences of it that the speaker found in Belgium, in England, and in France. Ways to develop a spirit of good-will among the peoples of the earth. The method of realizing our inter-dependence one upon another. A second method as the freedom of intercourse. The third step, perhaps the most important of all, as fidelity of interpretation. Looking for the best. Getting at the heart and soul of the people. Having an interchange of leaders of the nations. The last step of interaction, or the spirit of co-operation. Concluding with an illustration.
- Date of Original
- 20 Dec 1923
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INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND GOOD WILL
AN ADDRESS BY REV. CANON A. P. SHATFORD
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
December 20, 1923
PRESIDENT WILKINSON introduced Rev. Canon Shatford, of Montreal, who received a warm welcome from the members.
REV. CANON SHATFORD
Mr. President and Gentlemen,--The line of my address is determined by the approach of the Christmas season, with its spirit of good-will. Two notes that dominate this season are peace and good-will, and in this connection it is worthy of remark that the true translation of the Scripture phrase is "Peace on Earth to Men of Good-will." This reading brings out clearly the sentiment that we can never hope to have peace on earth until we have good-will amongst the people of the earth. Good-will is the cause, and peace is the effect; and if we are able to establish good-will amongst the nations, peace will follow as an inevitable result. (Applause)
We have only to look across the world today to realize that there is anything but the spirit of goodwill manifested. The note struck by the President in his opening remarks, as to the larger sphere this Empire Club might enter as an advocate and exponent of international good-will, was most timely, for we cannot stop with our own empire, but must try to make our clubs instruments for development of the international spirit of good-will.
Allan Pearson Shatford, M.A., is Rector of the Church of St. James' the Apostle, Montreal, and Honorary Canon.
Last summer I had the opportunity of studying at close range for three months, conditions across the Atlantic, after having spent a long time in France during the war, and I think the results of my study and observation may be helpful.
My first observation--which was not confined to any one nation or people--is that the disease of the world today is Touchiness; everybody is raw; their spirits are sore, and they are the most sensitive individuals in all history. This can be understood, for it is the result of five years of tragedy, when people's spirits were wounded and broken, and they are still bearing in their bodies and minds and souls the brands and burnings of that awful time. It is only natural that they should be very sensitive.
I think the most sensitive people of all are the French. During the days of the war I spent a long period there, and found them the most hospitable, courteous and gracious people of my experience, but today we find them very sore about certain things, and they are rather looking for slights, and are ready to resent any criticism, no matter how just it may be. Everywhere we moved we found that susceptibility to slights and criticism, which everywhere were resented.
We found in England a great rawness of feeling and a great sensitiveness about certain things and certain facts, so that one had to be very guarded in his utterances, for the least unwise word may start an argument. There is a great deal of inflammable material lying about, and all you have to do is to drop one spark and there would shortly be a conflagration.
We found, too, that the German people were very sore. Of course that is natural, because they got a pretty good trouncing, and people in that condition are not apt to take it very kindly. We found them very sensitive, very suspicious, somewhat alert to any danger or difficulties that may be in the way.
This is not true merely of the people on the other side of the water, for we found hosts of American people travelling all over the continent, and it seems to me they are just as sensitive with regard to international affairs as the others, and you must speak to them very gingerly and tenderly about the League of Nations and about certain other things, because they seem to be very quick to resent any criticism about their aloofness or policy of isolation. In short, everywhere you go the people act as though they were saying, "We will settle our own affairs, and we will not allow any outside interference whatever." That seems to be the general attitude.
Now, while that attitude is full of very great possibilities for evil, it is also full of possibilities for good, for a person of sympathetic character who really tries to enter intelligently and appreciatively into the troubles and difficulties of the people is given a very ready hearing. They are simply hungry for sympathy; they want the touch of brotherhood everywhere. They are somewhat afraid that everybody is an enemy, but once they are convinced you are a really interested friend desirous of understanding and helping them, there is quick response; their very sensitiveness leads to an alertness to answer the moment it is found that you are in a sympathetic frame of mind. But in this general condition of sensitiveness we must be very careful of our references, and must not indulge in any condemnations or harsh judgments, because those are the things that hurt; they go to the very quick of those people who have suffered so much. Hence we need to assume a sympathetic attitude all the way round if there is to be any hope of our solving the present problem.
The second word that calls for emphasis is the word Fear. Side by side with sensitiveness of spirit there is an appalling fear all over the Continent of Europe. Fear is probably one of the most prolific causes of war in the long history of humanity. Almost all wars have sprung out of some fear; and that fear is found amongst the French people today, even to a very paroxysm; they are almost hysterical with fear. You can understand why they should fear another war, because they were so broken and wounded and disrupted by the last two that they unhesitatingly say a third war would simply blot them out of existence. Because they are on the very edge of anxiety, because they sleep on the border of fear all the time, because they are trembling about the future, they are in the grip of a fear that simply insists on guarding themselves against any possible recurrence of the late war.
I found a fear also along the Rhine amongst the German people, which was differently based, though it was there just the same. The great fear in Germany is the fear of a revolution. They are not so much afraid of the people outside as of their own people. Everywhere you heard the leaders saying, "It is going to be very difficult to keep the people under," and I believe the danger today from extreme communism and socialism and bolshevism is not in Russia but is rather in Germany. They are sowing the seed there very widely, and it is taking deep root, and as cabinet after cabinet falls the leaders are simply convulsed with fear, and they say: "The first thing we know these people will rise up with such power and force that they will sweep out of existence all forms of government." It would be an appalling, thing if such a social revolution with bolshevic ideas ever gets a grip on Germany, because it will never stay there, it will spread over the whole continent; and mark you, friends, those extreme communists are building their hope of such a revolution as that.
Coming over to England, we found fear in another form, and that is that they do not seem to have very much hope for the future. They are afraid of the days to come. I think I must have been interviewed by scores of young men who had learned that I was there, because I had been asked to go over and dedicate the first Canadian Monument established at St. Julien. They came and said to me, "There is no future for us here; we will simply live on the borders of anxiety through all the time; what hope is there for us in Canada? It is a very serious matter for us to pull up stakes and move into another country that we don't know very much about; can you guarantee us any future there? It will be simply a grind for all the days to come if we live here." I found this not only amongst the working people, but in my own profession particularly. Ministers of thirty-five to forty came to me and said, "Is there any chance for us over there? We have been trained and brought up in this country, but we can't see very much daylight ahead with the burden of taxation we are carrying here, and so many other conditions; we do not see very much prospect for the future." So that fear seems to be settling on the people everywhere. I tell you, friends, I never saw such an amount of unemployment in all my history as existed there last summer. Tall, strapping, robust young fellows standing on every street corner selling matches and shoe-laces, and as I talked to them they said, "We have been compelled to this," and a lot of them go around with a placard hung on their necks with the words, "No choice of ours, compelled to do this." I said, "You cannot make very much money that way, can you?" They said, "Well, it is a little, and every little today is a great deal to us who are living on the borders of terror and of starvation." So with that fear of the future they seem to have lost all confidence and trust in the days to come. They are carrying a terrible, terrible burden, and that is the fear that you find manifested everywhere. It is an unwholesome and perilous situation.
The third word of which I want to speak is the word Courage, for alongside of that sensitiveness and that fear I think the courage of the peoples on the other side of the water is all the more established and all the more wonderful. (Applause) I travelled all over the battle fronts of France and Belgium, visiting 75 towns that I had known during the war, and I could not have believed it had I not seen with my own eyes the amazing recovery that has taken place. It shows what marvelous courage and industry those people had, that in the face of all the dark and forbidding circumstances they were able to carry on. Some of you here know what Lens was like after the war; there was not a stick standing, nor the wall of a house. Today it is a city of 25,000 people with some of the very finest houses and shops and hotels. Ypres, that was the centre of bombardment during all those days of the war, has today 20,000 people, and is simply a hive of industry. I think that the courage of Belgium is beyond all words of praise, for they are a most industrious people, working fourteen hours a day, carrying on in the face of what looked like very dark foreboding clouds, yet with a courage that is simply thrilling and inspiring.
I found exactly the same spirit in England--although they are afraid, and though they know there are tremendous difficulties ahead of them, yet they are filled with a marvelous courage, and can even laugh in the presence of their trials and tribulations; and though with trembling breath they say, "We are crushed with the burden of taxation," still they smile and add, "But we have got to carry on." I tell you that people who have resources as infinite and as overwhelming as that are bound to pull through. (Applause) Under these circumstances we ought to give those people the very warmest kind of sympathy and help that it is possible for us, as part of the old motherland. This Canada of ours should open its doors and let those sturdy fellows come in. Our first duty in immigration is to our own British brothers over there. (Loud applause) They watch our newspapers, and they are looking for things, and a word of kindness from us simply lifts them up, while a word of criticism throws them down. We want to be very--careful that we do not deepen the wound and aggravate the injury from which those people have been suffering all these years. We want to try and banish that fear out of their hearts, and to keep and cultivate and develop the courage which is so manifest among the French and Belgian and English people.
Therefore I want to speak to you about the ways to develop a spirit of good-will among the peoples of the earth. I am no philosopher, and have no desire to be considered a politician or statesman, but I want to present in simple words what I think are the best ways for the development of good-will that will insure permanent peace on earth. They are steps that we can all take, methods that we can all adopt, because they are very simple and fundamental.
First is the method of realizing our interdependence one upon another. We do not want in the history of the world any more declarations of independence; today we want declarations of interdependence; that is what we need today. (Applause) As long as the nations of the earth were looked upon as independent entities war was inevitible, because they felt independent of one another, and that they must guard and protect themselves against attack from other nations, which they looked upon not as friends but as foes. But now we have come to a time when we realize that none of us are independent. Our lives, internationally and nationally, are interwoven, and inter-threaded together. No nation can live of itself alone. There is no possibility of cutting ourselves off from all the other nations of the earth, and living exclusive and isolated lives. We have abundant need of them every day we live. I travelled by Canadian steamers, of course, and to my utter amazement, both going and coming, seventy per cent. of the passengers were Americans. The general observation is that those fellows travel from Montreal because they can get drinks there which they could not get from American ships, but I found that that was absolutely not so, for I never saw so little drinking on a passenger steamer as I saw during the past summer, and the Americans particularly abstained from drinking. I asked them why they chose the Canadian line rather than the American lines, and they said it was because we had one-cabin boats while the United States had not, and they preferred that class of travel. So they were dependent on us for that particular line and method of travel, and that is a very simple illustration which shows how, all the way around, we are interdependent one upon another.
You cannot boycott any nation on earth today without suffering. You cannot wound any peoples of the earth without feeling yourself the pain. When we sat down to this banquet we had striking illustrations of our dependence upon other nations, for where did our fruit and many of the elements of this meal come from? They came from other nations. Every day we have illustrations, in our clothing and other things, of the inter-relation and interdependence of one nation upon another. I do not know any more striking evidence of that interdependence than the war, for when that shot was fired down in Bosnia it echoed round the earth. Because of that shot the mother bowed her head in Australia, and the mother in Vancouver sent her only son to the front. Because of that shot the mulatto chief in the Pacific Islands had to declare his neutrality. There was not a single section of the world untouched by the great war. It shows you the solidarity of mankind--that there is a unity underlying all our diversity.
I visited some cemeteries this summer. I went to the huge cemetery at Poperinghe, where there are 15,000 soldiers buried, and hard by it is a French cemetery, where I saw a French mother kneeling by the side of a grave, praying for her dead boy, and a British mother kneeling in the British cemetery doing the same thing; and I said, "What difference is there in the agony of those two women? Does racial difference change their soul-pain and hunger?" So there is a community of interests and a unity of relations running through all the nations of the earth; and we must realize that fact before we can possibly contribute to the spirit of international good-will and peace. We must realize that all nations are wrapped together, and that they cannot separate themselves or stand aloof from one another, and that any attitudes of scorn for other nations, or racial pride, or arrogance that hurts anybody else is altogether wrong because it cuts at the very root of, our unity and interdependence. You remember what the poet said
"Mankind is one in spirit, and an instinct bears along
Thro' earth's electric circle the quick flash of right or wrong;
Whether conscious or unconscious yet humanity's vast frame
Thro' its ocean-sundered fibres feels the gush of joy or shame,
In the pain or loss of one race all the rest have equal claim."
Therefore, for the development of a spirit of goodwill we must realize that we are one family, and that these are our brothers and sisters, no matter what their colour or race or belief. The sooner we realize that, the quicker will we banish war and rumours of war out of the world.
The second method of developing international good-will is the freedom of intercourse, that is, moving in and out among the nations of the world, trying to understand them. Not only has travel increased greatly in the last few years, but a different class of people are travelling today across the countries of Europe than used to travel before the war; they are middle-class people-school-teachers, clergymen, people who have not very much of this world's goods, but who from certain circumstances are able to take a holiday once in a while. Nothing is better calculated to create good understanding among people of the world than this freedom of intercourse. Somebody once said, "I hate that man!" He was asked if he ever lived with him, and he replied, "No; how could I hate him if I lived with him?" (Laughter) That is a very good answer, and if we could get to understand each other we would have a better relation. I travelled with a company, composed chiefly of school-teachers, who went to Rome, to Spain, up the Rhine and to England, to study those people, observe their customs and traditions, and then come back and instruct the young of our land. Can you imagine anything better calculated to broaden the horizon and deepen and develop the sympathy towards other people in the world? We need to increase this freedom of intercourse among people so as to get our information of them first-hand, so many of us depend on second-hand information, and I think the majority of our mistakes are based upon misunderstanding. We need, in order to understand people, to get down beneath the surface and find what their strivings and desires are. We should keep up intercourse between the nations of the world, and develop the sympathy between them and get a broader outlook. Travel is a great education. We must smash down the bulk-heads of the water-tight compartments of our lives and let the water flow all the way through, and unite the different sections of life. Let us visit one another, not only between the provinces of Canada-for I believe we need it here a great deal, too--so that East and West shall have freedom of intercourse and get, through that intercourse, to understand one another thoroughly; then there will not be so much talk of separation. It is our policy of isolation, and not visiting one another, that endangers our living together in unity.
The third step, and perhaps the most important of all, is fidelity of interpretation; that is, that we shall always try to interpret other people in the best possible light. You remember that the Pilgrim was able to travel along his journey much more successfully because of the information he had received in the Interpreter's House. I believe no office is so important as that of interpreter-that we shall interpret other people aright. One man came back on the steamer with me, who had been all over Europe--Italy, Greece, down the Mediterranean, Egypt--and had seen wonderful historic entrancing places. I asked him what was the upshot of his visit, and he replied, "To make me more proud of America than ever." (Laughter) That was the total result of his visit. Probably he had been all the time comparing those lands with his own country, to the disadvantage of the other fellow. There is nothing easier in life than that, because you can always find some point in the other fellow that is inferior to yours; but what we need to do is to single out the real things of people, not to notice their faults-God knows we all have faults enough-but to find what their virtues are, and not be continually criticizing. A few years ago I went to Vancouver, and at Winnipeg a burly Englishman got into the smoker, and he was very much disgusted, and started to criticize things on this side of the water; the railways were rotten; the porters were discourteous; everything was wrong. After he had blown himself off with his vituperation he said, "Well, after all, it takes a long time to make a country." I remarked, "Yes, it does; you have been a thousand years making yours, and when Canada has had a thousand years to make hers, maybe a visitor will not be so unjust and so insulting."
The spirit we ought to adopt is to look for the best, and not for faults and failings. An American coming back home was asked what he saw in England, and he replied that he had seen Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral, but he added, "For a really solemn sight you want to see an English cricket match." (Laughter) Well, of course, we can quite understand that, having been born to the swift and spectacular game of base ball, we would naturally find cricket a slow and. conservative game; but when we travel, are we always careful to get at the real heart and soul and life of a people? When we were overseas we did not look very kindly on certain Belgians; we thought they were a bit greedy, and sometimes not too clean, and at times not too honest; but I want to say that as a result of spending a good many days with Belgians last summer I changed my views of the Belgians, and found they were simple hearted, industrious and hospitable. I think we are often very much mistaken about people on the first observation; what we really want to get at is the heart and soul of the people.
Why do we learn other languages? Not that we may become proficient in any given tongue, but that through that language we may find the real people; that the language may be the interpreter of the people. You remember the porter in the hotel at Rome who boasted that he could speak four languages-Italian, French, English and American. (Laughter) But somebody said that American and English were the same language. He replied that it was not so, that if it was raining very hard outside an Englishman would come into the hotel and say, "Beastly weather, isn't it?" while an American would come in and say, "Some day, ain't it?" (Laughter) Sometimes it is almost essential to understand the idioms of the people in order to interpret them aright; the very idioms carry their own meanings. So we want the real, true, faithful, actual, honest interpretation of the other peoples, judging them by their best and not by their worst. We would like to have other people do that regarding ourselves; well, let us exercise the same spirit towards others, and I am satisfied that a great deal of the hostility and misunderstanding would evaporate if we would understand and interpret those people correctly.
In the town church at Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, I was very glad to see a monument with these words inscribed on it: "To Sir Isaac Brock, who saved Canada, and fell on October 13th, 1812." I thought that was a good thing to have right there, as it linked up Canada with that little country. Then we dedicated the first monument at St. Julien, and we had a very unique gathering there, comprising the Prime Minister of Belgium, General Foch, the King of Belgium, and some of the great spirits there, and I wish you could have heard what they said about Canada. Foch said, in the presence of all, that it was Canada that saved the Channel Ports on that day in 1915. I say it is a grand thing to have those monuments to Canada on the soil of Belgium and France, interpreting the sacrifice of the people of Canada to the people over there. As long as you have that mutuality of interpretation you will have the spirit of good-will generated that is bound to result in peace.
The next step which naturally follows interpretation is to have an interchange of leaders of the nations. A good deal of that is going on between Great Britain and the United States; hardly a week passes but some outstanding speaker from some walk of life is coming to the United States to present the British idea and ambition and desire to the people. I think it would be a good thing to increase that. You know there was a professor of Oxford who went over to Tokio and took the English Chair of Literature there for several years; and you will find the interpretations of English Literature by Afcadio Hearn well worth reading. He spent his time in Tokio endeavouring to interpret English literature to those far-removed Eastern people. Then there came an Indian Professor over to Oxford, who did the same thing for the Oxford students, trying to tell them what the ideals of the Indian people were. Don't you think that interchange will be a very magnificent thing? Let the Professors of our colleges interchange--Canadians go to those other nations and try to set before them what our ideals and our ambitions are; and then they come to us and endeavour to present to us their ideals and ambitions. By pooling our resources and making a common contribution to the cause of humanity and the development of peace, I do not know anything that will be more fruitful of results than the interchange of leadership among the nations of the earth in order that we may draw closer and closer together.
Now, the last step I want to give you is--interaction, or the spirit of co-operation, that wherever it is possible for us to stand upon a common platform with the other nations of the world, let us do it unhesitatingly. I know you have had very masterly addresses here on the League of Nations, and I have no intention of debating that subject; it is a very imperfect instrument, but what we want to do is to talk it up and help it in every way we can, for it stands for cooperation amongst the nations of the world. (Applause) We want to encourage the bringing in of all the nations, because it cannot do its work perfectly or adequately until all nations are in. Living as close as we do to the United States of America, let us, instead of being too critical about their attitude, just sympathetically and carefully educate them, and try to get them to see the value, the beauty and the possibility of it until at least the Anglo-Saxon race will be knit together in a determination that all difficulties will be settled on the basis of arbitration and not by the force of arms. Thus we will develop the spirit of good-will that will very soon drive the clash of arms and the roar of cannons out of humanity and bring in a great Brotherhood of Man.
These are my simple methods for development of good-will--first of all by a realization of our interdependence; second, by a greater freedom of our intercourse; third, by a fidelity of interpretation; then, by the interchange of leaders; and finally by an interaction or co-operation whereby it is possible for us to join hand and heart in the common cause of humanity.
Let me close with an illustration. Have you ever stood on the shores of the Bay of Naples? It is one of the most beautiful sheets of water in all the world. It runs for thirty miles around the coast. There you get the town in its glory, with its shining spires, and the beautiful blue of that water reflecting on its bosom the clouds of the sky. Behind you have Vesuvius, with its tongue of flame like a plume, throwing its glory over all that placid, calm sea. It is a beautiful sight, unrivalled. But do you know that geologists tell us that this bay was the crater of a volcano; that in primitive times it simply belched fury and flame and fire? But after a time the fire died down; the ashes became cold; it was cracked and scarred and broken. Then the sea came in and covered over all the scars and every form of desolation. What was at one time a scene of anguish and of ugliness is now a scene of incomparable beauty and glory. Even so, for five years Europe was a veritable volcano, belching forth fury and agony and pain; but the fires died down, the ashes cooled. There were scars and ridges and gaping wounds, but what we want to do is to bring in the glorious sea of Brotherhood to cover over all the desolation and horror, making it a scene of beauty and comeliness and peace. That is your task, that is mine; and on this very threshold of Christmas, when we are ringing the bells of joy and talking about peace and good-will, let us set our hands to this tremendous undertaking by developing goodwill and so bringing in universal peace.
Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new;
That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do,
For I dipt into the future far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails, Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales; Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the thunderstorm;
Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.
(Loud applause, the audience rising and cheering)
SIR WILLIAM HEARST expressed the thanks of the Club to the speaker for his wonderfully inspiring address.
Following this, President Wilkinson introduced and installed the newly-elected President, Mr. William Brooks, who received a most cordial reception. Mr. Brooks briefly but feelingly expressed his appreciation of the high honour conferred upon him and his recognition of the serious responsibility involved in the acceptance of the Presidency. Relying, however, upon the generous support of his fellow members and on the energetic work of the Executive Committee he would face the coming year in the confident hope that the best traditions of the Club would be maintained and its influence extended.