- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 28 Jan 1909, p. 110-119
- Eby, Rev. C.S., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Studying the great questions that come up in the papers and magazines and feeling that almost every question is becoming Imperial, or, even more, international. Also realizing that the only solution to all of these questions is in the citizen, the individual man, the intelligent man, who is at the basis of the fabric of our institutions. Defining Imperial citizenship, with illustration. Two great revolutions in human life, human history, human thought, that we have to face, out of which a new world has been born. The inventions of the telescope, and the microscope. Understanding the whole into which we fit. Citizenship developed in the unit, and that citizenship made Imperial in its sweep. A man measured by the self-conscious citizenship of his life: an analysis. Finding one nation in the midst of this great Empire. Common elements all related to one great common centre and related to each other with common ideals, combining in one great whole of thought that which is not to be found inside of a municipality or a province or a nation by itself. An Empire in connection with other Empires in the great whole of this planet and of humanity. In the same sense, combined nations in one great Empire, giving up certain things for the advantage of the whole and gaining thereby a larger mutual advantage. Every step in the process toward Imperial citizenship implying a certain amount of giving up on our part, but in every case the giving up involving a very much greater amount of advantage to us. Indications through every step that in every way the world is getting to be very close together. Emphasizing the possibilities of this development of our young men in our citizenship of the present day. The Imperial idea of citizenship as a life of personal effort for largest service. The speaker's belief that it is possible for us to develop here in Canada those virile, manly, large powers that will make the strongest kind of an Empire by simply enlarging the scope of our thinking and getting ourselves and our young men to understand the heritage into which we have entered. The need for every one of us to take part. Reference for a few minutes to the question of the unemployed. Ways in which this question is becoming more and more a national, an Imperial, an international question.
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- 28 Jan 1909
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- IMPERIAL CITIZENSHIP.
Address by the REV. C. S. EBY, D.D., of Toronto, before the Empire Club of Canada, on January 28th, agog.
Mr. President and Gentlemen,
I want to speak today as briefly, and say in as few words as possible, what thoughts I have, even though the result may appear to be very broken fragments, elements of thought that are incomplete. I have been told that in addressing an audience I must not take anything for granted; but today I will have to take a very great deal for granted, and appeal to the intelligence of my hearers as I, perhaps, go with seven-league boots from point to point. Perhaps, also, the way in which I shall treat this subject will be different from what you had expected; and yet even though it may be entirely different, it may not be without its need of helpfulness or of suggestiveness. The more I study the great questions that come up in the papers and magazines and are otherwise brought to our attention, the more I feel that almost every question is becoming Imperial, or, even more, international. And, then, that the only solution to all of these questions is in the citizen, in the individual man, the intelligent man, who is at the basis of the fabric of our institutions.
Take, for instance, the local unemployed question that we have here, a thousand unemployed, seven hundred of them with wives between two and three thousand children involved. On the other hand, the question involved, the difficulties connected directly and indirectly with that movement, are not local, but are of interest to the Mother Country, to every nation in the Empire, and to every Empire in the world. It is an international question of interlacing interests that cover not only this land, but all lands; so that, side by side, you have the development of an Imperial question that we must look at from an Imperial standpoint, and realize the fact that the voice we hear around the City Hall extends to the outermost edges of the civilized world. I think that Canada, with all her advantages in a thousand ways that I do not need to enumerate, with her intelligent citizenship in particular, ought to help to solve this and other problems of a similar character.
What is Imperial citizenship? Is it the assumption of authority of one set of men over another, or is it not rather the realization of an inheritance which brings responsibilities and obligations with it to each individual man that we ought to translate into our life? To illustrate this, there are two types, of Englishmen abroad. We have all met them; but, of course, there is only one type of them here. A friend of mine in England a while ago was asked by an English artist why it was that the Englishman was so terribly disliked, discounted, abroad. " Will you be mad now if I tell you the reason?" asked my friend. " No," he said. " Very well; the reason is that they are so confoundedly disagreeable." This type was illustrated a few days ago by a man who came fresh from the Old Land, and was welcomed here in Canada, amongst numerous others who came and were also down and out, not having enough to put on or enough to eat. They were helped very nicely by the Welcome League and other friends. One man remarked: " How very nicely these colonials are receiving us." " Why, of course! What else should they do? We owns 'em." You have there a specimen of insularity expanded into imperialism-littleness made big in its materialism, but without the soul that was needed to fill the larger role, and ridiculous in the smaller sphere. On the other hand, you have, in another type of Englishman, the finest specimen of man on the face of God's earth. One illustration was given by an Ambassador at the capital of the neighbouring Republic-Lord Pauncefote, I think it was. Somebody was going to meet him at the train, and wanted to know how he could recognize the Ambassador from Great Britain. The answer was: " He is a tall man, and you will find him helping some poor old woman."
And so it was. There you had a man who was a true nobleman, and not simply a man representing the Empire; but in everything he did he acted as a nobleman--the large ideal working out into every detail of life.
Another thing-there have been two great revolutions in human life, human history, human thought, that we have to face, out of which a new world has been born-a new era begun, into which we are now entering. One of these revolutions came by the invention of the telescope and the discovery of all that the telescope uncovered; the entire removal of the old ideas of cosmogony, the opening out of the infinite system, or systems of the heavens and all that it meant to the complete overturn of human thinking as it was a few hundred years ago. The second came only during the last century, for which preparation had been made in previous centuries, and that was the development of the microscope that found the infinitely small. By means of the scientific imagination the unseen elements of the infinitely small-the atoms of the universe-have been read, and read in such a way as to open unnumbered books, solve unnumbered problems, and turn the whole human mind into an entirely different channel.
Instead of the despot of a God we have found a Father. Of course, that is not new, but it is scientific today as it never was before. Instead of the creationism of an infinite workshop we have the development out of the infinitely small into the infinitely large, and a great law of evolution running through the whole into which we fit, which we want to understand; and the more we understand it the better we can understand both the infinitely large and the infinitely small in every department of being. Take those two lines of development and you have the discovery of the greatness of everything that man touches in this world, and the line along which the Imperial thoughts of men do their work today instead of in the old, despotic type. I was struck with this in a wonderful way by Joseph Chamberlain's remark in speaking about the different elements in our great Empire. He said: " The thing that will hold us together and make us strong is simple self-sacrifice-getting to understand wherein we can give up something in order that we may gain something larger for ourselves and for a very great many more." The infinitely small superficially appears to rest upon the infinitely great; the individual upon the whole. On the other hand, the whole rests upon the unit; and it is the development of the unit and the combination of the units today that will make the whole whatever it is. So that we want to have citizenship developed in the unit, and that citizenship made Imperial in its sweep.
A man is measured by the self-conscious citizenship of his life, the world that he recognizes as his world, and, on the other hand, a citizen is what a man can translate out of the world in which he lives into his own personality and power at home. Let me analyze that. I belong to all that is under my hat; that is a little empire in itself, with all its powers. I want to bring together and
understand the laws whereby they can all be unified into one. No man can live alone; there are others round about him who are just like himself; and, to leap over a great many other points where one might stop, we have a municipality. Every man in the municipality is neighbour to other men; there are some things that are mine, and some things that are thine, and some that are ours together. Every unit ought to understand what things are ours and what are the other man's, and wherein we blend the one with the other to make the municipality
what it ought to be. The individual gives up something in order to gain that which everybody gains by unity, and the municipality is the result. Then each municipality touches on other municipalities. In order to reach a larger whole these municipalities, perhaps, give up something in order to combine the whole into one great province. Another development occurs, another set of ideas; some things are left behind that are not brought into the provincial parliament or the provincial thought, but if a man stay simply as a municipal man he is parochial. The province combines with other provinces in the Dominion; each province may give up something, but they combine in certain great common ideals and projects, impossible to a single province, and unite for a common good; the Dominion is born, and you have a situation for the development of a citizen who has expanded out of the parochial and provincial into a national man.
Go on a little further and you find in the midst of this great Empire-that has been brought together by a certain line of historical development under the Providence of God-one nation not, perhaps, touching the other, but distant, apart. Yet there are common elements all related to one great common centre and related to each other with common ideals, combining in one great whole of thought that which is not to be found inside of a municipality or a province or a nation by itself. Thus the Empire becomes a united entity, built on an ideal, and productive of a larger, type of man. For this new type of man there is a larger ideal and a larger work in the great whole of the planet in which we find ourselves, and thus an Imperial consciousness is awakened in each individual. There you have the elements that go to make up a real Imperial citizenship in so far as the purely political side of the question may go. And just here I might say that every one of us, as Canadians, or citizens from any other of the nations combined in the Empire, when we come to realize the advantages that we have as a part of the Empire, it is not for us to try to shirk any of the responsibilities that ought naturally to come upon us, but to take hold of the question and study it from the Imperial standpoint, and also from the position that we hold in the Empire, in order to carry out to the fullest all that really ought to be expected of us.
There you have an outline of the idea; and, beyond that, of course, you have also the fact that as an Empire we are in connection with other Empires in the great whole of this planet and of humanity; and in the same sense that we are combined as nations in one great Empire, giving up certain things for the advantage of the whole and gaining thereby a larger mutual advantage from others with whom we are in contact, so, also, beyond the interior relations of the nations within our Empire, there will be the cultivating of the friendliest relationship with all the Empires of the earth, and, in so far as possible, combining one with the other to make one great international whole. In some things we have been -are today- combined. Financial, educational and other questions go not only through our own Empire, but through other nations of the earth. On every line possible we ought to cultivate the spirit of co-operation and mutual helpfulness, and by that means I believe we will solve the question of war and militarism. Those things will pass away when we can look each other in the face and talk as brothers. With the growth of internationalism of this type, little by little the spirit that has created the militarism and the antagonism now to be found in so many lines between nation and nation will pass away, and a real brotherhood will be the result.
Every step in this process that I have indicated implies a certain amount of giving up on our part. As Joseph Chamberlain said, "a certain amount of self-sacrifice;" but in every case the giving up has always involved a very much greater amount of advantage to us every step of the way. The further we go in the same direction the more we make the idea of co-operation Imperial, and carry it out into the relations of one Empire with another; the sooner we will come to that time when millions-thousands of millions-of, dollars will be saved for human betterment that are now spent on militarism, and otherwise absolutely wasted, because we look at each other as enemies instead of as friends.
Then the other side of the thought is this: That the development along which everything is now moving and tending-in the touch of one nation with another, in the advance of higher thinking, of literature, and financial arrangements, and commerce, and missions, I may say also-indicates that in every way the world is getting to be very close together. All the tendencies of the times are toward the development, not of an imperial emperor, not of an imperial aristocracy, not of imperial princely men of money, that shall dominate others as the permanent end or ultimate goal of man, but everything points to the development of the individual man to lift the lowest out of the slums and let them understand that if they are citizens of one little spot in an empire they are citizens of the empire as a whole. The very education in that idea, if we could bring it home to our young men, to our schools, to our young fellows that are coming to their majority and just going out into political life, will make them realize that political life means a very great deal more than merely voting as their fathers voted or for " the party"; they will see that they are citizens of an Empire with all these different strata of activities into which every individual has a right to enter; and, if he does not enter, he is shirking the duty of life and losing that which will make him the largest kind of a man.
We want to emphasize the possibilities of this development of our young men in our citizenship of the present day, so that they shall not be simply workers in sectional lines of reform, temperance, church propaganda, or social ideals; or, on the other hand, become mechanical parts of the machinery of one political party or the other, where a man is made to feel that he belongs to a section rather than to the whole. What we want to do is to develop the fact of the individual citizen having not only rights and duties and privileges running through from the municipality in which he lives, through the province and the Dominion and the Empire and throughout the world. If we can only do that, as Mr. Balfour said a little while ago-I give this quotation perhaps not verbally, but it struck me at the time, and I think I can give you the idea-" If we could get every individual to realize his share of responsibility for the Empire we would do more to enlarge the sweep of the human mind and the uplift of human character than all the books he could read." The Imperial idea of citizenship is a life of personal effort for largest service. Get the idea into the mind of the young man as he is blooming into manhood that there is something more before him than making a little money, or making a home, or living within the narrow range in which he is found, or that his great work on this earth is to get out of it as soon as possible and away to heaven.
Get every young man to realize that the whole universe is round about him, with forces to develop manhood within him that shall express itself in personality and in municipal affairs, in provincial affairs, in Dominion affairs, in Imperial affairs, in affairs that touch the world. To teach men to look at every little thing from that large standpoint will create a magnificent type of man, and solve a thousand difficulties that otherwise would be unsolvable. The other day I noticed a quotation from Principal Hutton in an article that he wrote to the University Magazine. I did not see the- original, but I was very much struck with the quotation. It referred to Canadian citizenship and the development of the Imperial spirit in Canada, the situation in North America as between the United States-an independent nation that threw off the "yoke" of Great Britain-and Canada, which still remains as a Colony under the Crown. Plato looks at these conditions from his distance, and he says that the type of citizenship that you can develop in a. Colony, of faithfulness and patience and loyalty, were very different things from the aggressive, manly strengthening, virile forces that you develop in an independent land that has thrown off a yoke, and where men feel that they are absolutely free to develop something; on their own lines. That was Plato's idea. The question in my mind is: Is it necessary for Canada to have a rebellion and a war and bloodshed and struggle and a division from the old mother and the family of nations in which we find ourselves in order to develop a real, large, high-toned, aggressive type of Canadian citizenship? And my feeling is that we need nothing of the sort.
I believe that it is possible for us to develop here in Canada those virile, manly, large powers that will make the strongest kind of an Empire by simply enlarging the scope of our thinking and getting ourselves and our
young men to understand the heritage into which we have entered, and the splendid development that lies before us if we will only prepare for it and learn how to understand the times in which we live and the opportunities that are at hand, and to lay hold of these things so as to develop what we have into what it might be and must be with the highest kind of intelligence; with practical work on the line of citizenship, for the locality in which we live, and for every stage in that larger whole in which we are citizens. Every one of us should take part, and throw in all that we can contribute, and if each man contributes only a little, that will not be the only result, for every effort of every man to think imperially will raise that man; and to thousands on thousands that are thinking that way there will come a greater manhood and a larger worth for the very place in which we live.
I would like to refer for a few minutes to this question of the unemployed. I am an independent man, looking at this not from the standpoint of the unemployed, although in order to understand it one has to try to put himself in the place of the under-dog; nor do I understand it perfectly from the standpoint of the financier and of those who have control of the development of affairs in this Canada of ours. I am trying to look at it from the standpoint of a thinker, with absolute sympathy for everybody; and from this Imperial standpoint, and the larger standpoint, if possible, of the human race, I would like to see a great many people in Toronto who have the means and have the knowledge put their minds together in this Imperial way and try as far as possible to solve this question. The situation at present appears to be a labour problem, involving the lower strata of workers; but there is a certain element in the movement preparing for better things. The more it becomes intelligent and expresses its wants the better. It is bad, of course, if it goes to extremes; but there is this about it, all the trouble of the labour side of the unemployed, from the high-class, well-paid men down to the lowest, is becoming more and more a national, an Imperial, an international question, until all other lines are effaced and labour stands for itself, a world-force to be reckoned with.
On the other hand, the financial world is not confined to one place. I have been noticing lately the published reports of your banking system, and a certain amount of thinking has come to my mind. It is not simply Toronto, Ontario, the Dominion, the Empire, but the wide world is one great world of finance; and I have been wondering, as I look at these reports, if there is not a something in connection with it that is rather on the line of a suction pump that sucks the wealth up and up where it will stay, and the more a man has, or an institution has, the bigger power it has to suck up, to hold, and to multiply, instead of having some means of suction up and suction down, producing a circulation that would make things a little better all round. If there were only a way out of the upper regions down into the lower places, so that the multitudes would not be sucked dry, but have an opportunity of getting and giving, there would surely be a better chance to cultivate a higher type of citizenship out of what are now derelicts of men. I would like you to look at that question, and see if you cannot take hold of it, and solve it in an Imperial fashion.