INDIA AND THE EMPIRE
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY REV. THOMAS CARTER
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
Thursday, April 1, 1920
PRESIDENT HEWITT: Gentlemen, through circumstances entirely beyond his own control, Dr. Finley almost at the last moment found it impossible to keep his engagement to address the Empire Club today. He has promised, and gladly promised, that at a date-suitable to us he will fill that engagement a little later. (Applause) I am greatly pleased, however, that we have been able to secure Dr. Carter, who will speak to us on the subject of both India and the Empire-that Empire within an Empire. Dr. Carter, beside the official position which he holds in the Zenana Bible and Medical Mission, a very important organization having to do so vitally with some phases of Indian life, has during the whole period of the war served, with very splendid results, as a chaplain in the King George Military Hospital, London, containing 2,000 beds, through which 8,000 soldiers have passed during the time of his service, there-Presbyterians, I think he keeps track of particularly, and he is none the worse for that. (Laughter) Of those 8,000 that he had to do with, 3,000 were from Canada, so that he comes to us with a good deal of familiarity, because Canadians may be pretty well known from what they did in the hospital. (Applause) He was also secretary of the Comforts sub-committee of the Indian Soldiers' Fund, and some of you who have youngsters should know that he is the "J. Claverdon Wood" of the "Boys' Own Paper." Any man who has rendered such signal service to the Empire as the Doctor is specially welcome as a guest to the Empire Club, and I have great pleasure in introducing him to you. (Applause)
REV. DR. THOMAS CARTER
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,-I little expected that I would have the privilege of addressing this very distinguished assembly, but I welcome the opportunity because in a great city like this-a city which, if you will allow me to say so, is only on the threshold of its greatness-it is a great privilege to meet men of force and influence, and it is one which I prize highly. I do not know that I shall be able in any way to fill the place of Dr. Finley, but at any rate I shall say something, and I shall say that something as an Englishman-(applause) -as one who has an intense love for the Old Country, who rejoices in the fact that she is far from being played out (applause) and who knows perfectly well that no matter how strong you may be in the great natural resources of ,this wonderful Dominion, in your own power of body and mind and spirit, you can feel absolute confidence that we shall give you a good run for your money, and I believe that we won't be very far from the prize when we come to the end. (Laughter)
I say this is unexpected, so far as I am concerned; but after all, Gentlemen, the unexpected- is one of the most interesting phases of the British character. It has given the world some considerable surprises. It seems to be inexhaustible. A very powerful combination of nations expected that, when the first mighty blows of war were struck, the British Empire would reel and be shattered into various weak atoms; and even competent and close observers held strong opinions that the Empire was a conglomeration bound together with a kind of rope of sand, and that the first shrewd blow would break it. These men were wise in their day and generation, and they staked a good deal upon their opinion, and they lost because the unexpected happened. (Hear, hear) The Empire found itself united in a oneness that amazed those who knew it best. The Empire in finding itself, began to know the quality of its enemies and the quality of its sons and daughters, and it was astonished and gratified by the response which came to it from all parts of the world. For the war, and I speak now of Canada, brought the Old Country and Canada into a better understanding of each other; and we, who used to look at each other largely from the outside and from the remittanceman, (laughter) today know each other as we are in our homes, and in that sterling quality of the heart which beats at one in a noble response to great ideals and great ambitions. (Applause)
I say that the new spirit of national and inter-imperial fellowship has opened our eyes, and the old Nation and the new Dominion have realized, amid the horrible clash of war, and will realize yet more clearly amid the activities and successes of peace, the oneness of the race in speech, tradition, ideals, ambitions, loyalty, affections, and even follies. We have to realize that a new Empire was born in the fierce travail of those bloodstained fields of France and Flanders, and that at Vimy and at Passchendaele and other places Britain and Canada realized that they were mother and daughter, or brother and brother, or friend and friend, just as you like it; but the furnace made us one, and we were welded together for ever on the fierce anvil of war. (Applause) Therefore, Gentlemen, I submit to you that, in matters political, commercial, social, and international, when the British Empire is concerned, it is always a safe axiom to look out for and to estimate for the "unexpected." It works out all round.
There is a great Imperial indebtedness in money. Will Britain repudiate her debts? Absurd, on the very face of it; for a nation which went to war and spent eight thousand millions to uphold the integrity of a "Scrap of Paper" is ' not likely to repudiate any kind of debt. (Loud applause) Therefore, in the payment and discharge of Imperial indebtedness, in the face of a depreciated currency, in the face of possible labour difficulties, in the face of a crippled mercantile marine, of disturbed trade, of world need, of world rivalry-in the face of it all, I say to you, always estimate for the "unexpected." For there is a race-and thank God, we belong to it-which stubbornly refuses to look at the map, though the enemy implores us to do it: "You are beaten! you are beaten! look at the map!"-not a bit of it; away with the map! this is not the map; this is the actual field; this is the arena of fight for great ideals. We shall look at the map when we are going to rearrange it. (Loud applause) A race, which stubbornly refuses to look at the map until its business has been done, and which after all has a straightforward-I speak in the presence of a Bishop-"cussed" honesty about it. (Laughter) In spite of occasional lapses, the British race goes straight to the centre.
Gentlemen, I am now going to speak about the Old Country. Have you realized that that poor old, crippled, worn-out, enervated-all the rest of it-Country has, since November, 1918, returned more than five millions of soldiers and sailors to civil life, and a million and a half of women transferred from munitions to civil pursuits? Have you realized that in less than six months, more than 250 million pounds, or 1,250 million dollars of new capital have been subscribed for industrial enterprises in Britain? Have you realized that over four and a half million tons of food-stuffs were delivered by British ships to France and to Italy in less than twelve months? We speak of our indebtedness to the United States! Do you realize-and what a wonderful people we belong to-do you realize that Britain borrowed fifty million dollars from the United States in order to give them in food to the starving women and children of Austria, the people whom we fought against. Britain went fifty millions of dollars into debt to give bread and food to the women and children of Austria. (Applause) I say, Mr. Chairman, that a nation which can do that, and can do it without saying much about it, (applause) is a nation which has to be reckoned with.
Now, consider this: in the midst of the tremendous chaos and difficulty of reconstruction, when thrones and crowns have tumbled down, and the captains and the kings are departing, if they have not already departed, and when the whole is in unrest and turmoil, this stubborn, cussedly honest Empire sets out on the most stupendous adventure in India. There are three hundred and fifteen millions of people there; and at this time the
162EMPIRE CLUB OF CANADA
Empire is making an attempt to bring new freedom to the people of India. Isn't it amazing? We might have said, "Now, please be quiet, we must have time to turn round; we have only just emerged from four years of the furnace of fire and of blood; we can keep you quiet by force; lie still until we have time to look around." Not a bit of it. Remember what we did after the Boer War, when you think of what we are now doing for India.
And try to think of the immensely difficult business it is; the complex nature of India and its people; 315 millions of people divided into diverse and oftentimes antagonistic races. It is because of the hand of Britain that India knows peace. The Pathan of the North, and the Bengali away there in the East would soon be at daggers drawn, because the Pathan loves a fight and would finish any opponent very quickly; he would simply sweep the subtle, intellectual Bengali out of his path with one thrust of his keen knife. It is the British power, it is the British Raj, that holds India. You tell me India is disturbed. I reply, Kg is Canada. Wherever there is life, there will be disturbance. Wherever there is growth, you may look for growing pains. If you are going to spoon-feed people forever,, you will never create a democracy that can stand; and if you are going to believe in democracy and in the rights of people, then you must open the door, sooner or later, to their advance.
Now in India there are diverse languages, diverse races; English alone is the common medium of communication. There are diverse and antagonistic religions, and the whole of the 315 millions of people are divided into inflexible castes, where a man's destiny is considered to be eternally fixed by Divine decree, where the son must follow his father's profession, where the whole thing is not a matter of commercial adaptability or anything like that, but the belief is that man's condition has been fixed from all time by infinite and divine decree, and, if the man dares to break it, he is thrown out of his caste.
Now, in these people, who have only the most elementary idea of democratic ideals, and have been dominated by the Brahmin and other castes, you are going to develop, or attempt to develop, a system wherein democracy, as we know it in the West, will be allowed to grow, and where, instead of people spoon-fed, you will have men and women who will stand up as men and women of a great Empire. Mr. Chairman, you will agree with me that it is a- great scheme. There are many dangers in front of it. It is intended to grow from small to larger. It is intended to spread out until all the masses of India are brought within its sweep. To my mind, its success or failure will lie in the education of the people. A democracy is a danger unless it is a trained one, and a well-trained one. (Hear, hear) All sorts of- wildcat ideas come in. Take Bolshevism, which is opposed to everything, and which has its fatal and fundamental error in that it nationalizes the home. Anything which attempts to nationalize the home is going to bring about tragedy; you cannot nationalize the home; what you have to do is train it and make it grow upon the right principles, and it will form its own part of national life; but to try to nationalize a people by abolishing the homes and by abolishing the right of husband and wife and father and child is simply to be rushing upon the road which leads to absolute destruction. (Applause)
Remember that the German enemy is not dead, and he is not sleeping. He has had a tremendous rap on the head and on the knuckles. In the words of a music-hall song, which the Bishop will probably remember, the chorus was, "He don't know where he are!" (Laughter) Now our enemies are knocked out, they are defeated, but they are wide awake, and they hate the British Empire with a hate which has been burned into whiter ferocity because of what has happened. I am a Christian minister, but I believe I am justified in saying that the British Empire has to reckon upon the unsleeping hostility of the militaristic forces which brought about the war, and that those forces are working subtly, cleverly, in propaganda by means of the Bolshevists and others. Any man here, who knows the conditions of the East, knows perfectly well that tons of printed propaganda are being sent right through. Do you remember what the Kaiser said some years ago? I don't want to waste much time about the Kaiser, but I remember I took a note of one of his remarks which he made to Bethmann-Hollweg in July, 1914, when he said, "The whole Moslem world must be incited to a savage uprising against this hated, lying, unscrupulous nation 'of hucksters"-you, Gentlemen. Now, that has not been forgotten, and you will find that the enemies of the Empire are endeavouring to work through the Russian power by subtle propaganda, and to inflame the excitable people of the East against one another, against the Empire-anything, so long as they may be involved in a common ruin. But the same statemanship and the same calm wisdom which enabled the old Empire to weather the big storm of 19141918 will, under God, guide the ship through the shoals and perils of the present day. (Loud applause)
I am sure you in Canada realize the importance of sea-power. Lord Halifax in 1694 said, "The First article of an Englishman's creed must be that he believeth in the sea;" and then he said, "Look to your moat." Well, we have looked to it, and the world knows it; and the challenger to its supremacy lies under the tossing waves of Scapa Flow, (applause) the suicide fleet. Do you remember what Shakespeare said-and here I speak not as a Canadian but as a representative of the finest on God's earth, the English-Scot-you will pardon the conceit-"Be Canadian right out and out, and let Canada be the finest place on God's earth;" that is the spirit. (Hear, hear) "Be British out and out and never be ashamed of it." (Hear, hear)
Well, what does Shakespeare say?
That white-faced shore Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides, And coops from other lands her Islanders. England, hedged in with the main, That water-walled bulwark, still secure And confident from foreign purposes.
Gentlemen, I feel that you in Canada here today are very much like those good Elizabethans who, in the spacious days of great Elizabeth, stood upon the thresh hold of immense development. If you will allow me to say so, in the Canada of today there should be a spirit of light-hearted romance, a spirit of keen intellectual daring, a spirit of confidence and adventure in commerce and in the arts, a spirit of intense national unity. You have a wonderful Dominion, but that Dominion will be as nothing unless it is developed by the strong hands and the stronger hearts and minds of the people who call it their own land. (Loud applause)
Now, I have been a long while coming to India; but may I remind you that after centuries of ignorant mismanagement, misgovernment, tyranny, oppression, the middle East-and distinguish between the middle east and the farther east-the middle East, with all its wonderful potential wealth, its immense economic possibilities, its diverse races-all this has now been thrown open to the impact of a new civilization. Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, all those countries are ready for development, or the beginnings of development, on modern lines. Because of the war, because of the opening of the East so wonderfully, the industrial and commercial life of the world are affected. British responsibilities, the responsibilities of Empire, have been greater and larger; but Britain has always taken a world-view of its responsibilities. (Applause) To be parochially minded is death, and the British Empire has never been parochially minded; it has sought and it has accepted world-wide responsibilities.
Now, it is only the British Empire that looks upon the world in this way, and that is the reason of its world-wide campaigns. Remember, Britain fought for the places in the East-Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Egypt-fought for them, freed them, crushed the enemy and all opposition, and Britain will administer them. (Applause) And in what spirit? Lord Canning many years ago defined what he called the true attitude of the British Foreign 'Office, and it is very interesting to remember what Lord Canning said, and to follow the policy of, say, Sir Edward Grey, in these days of crises and difficulty. Now, this is what Lord Canning said
The true attitude of a British Foreign Office should be, "respect for the faith of treaties; respect for the independence of nations; respect for the established line of policy known as the balance of power; and last, but not least, respect for the honour and interests of this Country." That is the British Foreign Office policy. Now, what underlies it? An administration which, in the main, is generous, is honest, is fair, is straight-forward; it is practical, it is kindly. Take it in India: take it in Turkey. What does Turkey need today? I will tell you what Turkey wants to-daffy-a fair, square, straight-forward government which will sweep away all political abuses, all bribery, all corruption" and will say, when massacres or anything else are on the carpet, "By the grace of God this thing shall stop, and if it does not stop, well, we will start in." That is what Turkey needs.
Take the Moslem world, which has a common faith and common philosophy, but which has very little unity; which is divided into the bitterest sects and factions. Will the Mohammedan world rise if the Sultan is bundled out of Constantinople? Yes, say some; no, say others, because the Mohammedan who fought loyally against the Turks in the war is possibly not quite of that kind which would see, in the moving of the Sultan, a deadly menace to his faith. Here is an interesting fact to remember. The sacred places of the Moslem world have been delivered by the hands of British soldiers; Mecca, the holy place, by British soldiers; Jerusalem, by British and Indian soldiers. Cairo, by British and Indian soldiers. You find this, that while the Mohammedan is being incited by subtle propaganda against the British power, he cannot look upon a single holy place of his religion without being reminded that he owes them and their maintenance to the British power. (Applause )
We are getting to India. Think of the Bagdad railway which is going, from Constantinople to Aleppo, some 850 miles; then to Jerablus on the Euphrates; thence to Mosul on the Tigris; thence td Bagdad, in all about 650 miles; and then on to Persia, across Baluchistan to Quetta, and before very long you will find that we can get to India in fourteen days by rail from London.
Now come to India; and will you let me say here that I believe that in the kind of work in which I am closely engaged lies probably the best solution of the difficulties and the dangers of India. I believe that one missionary is worth more than a battalion, and that a missionary society is worth more than a fleet; and that, if you are going to move a people profoundly, and in the right direction, you will do it by laying your hand sympathetically and kindly upon the home. If you can train the children, if you can be the friend of the women -for after all the women, whether behind the curtain or in front of it, have the destinies of the race in their hands; and when you think of our opportunities in the Zenana Bible and Medical Mission, which has four hundred women workers in schools and hospitals and homes and villages, and when you have, as we have, a welcome in every home, and a "God-speed you; come back soon" when you leave it, you are going to influence the people for good. (Applause) You sometimes hear it said that men don't care a great deal about foreign missions. Now, that is true only on the surface. A man cares a great deal about foreign missions if you put them on the right plane. Point out to him that there are 400 millions of pagans in China and 315 millions of pagans in India, that the whole world is all the while on the move, and that you cannot keep those people out, and he will have a mighty objection to the pagan coming in. There would be little hostility to the Indian as an Indian or a Chinaman as a Chinaman, but the objection arises when a pagan intrusion is made upon a civilization which is based upon Christian principles and ideals. You must depaganize China and India if you are going to have any close intercourse with these people and races. (Applause)
I hope you will follow, with sincere and prayerful interest, that far-Eastern portion of the British Empire, India, so wonderful, so attractive, so full of interesting problems and wonderful possibilities, which is part with us in the Empire, and that in your interest you will remember those struggling missionary administrators who, in these days of adverse currency, have an added burden upon their work-for the rupee which in prewar days cost us 11 /4 now cost us f2 /8. The adverse currency adds a yearly burden of seventy-five thousand dollars to this Interdenominational Gospel and Humanitarian work and when you think of it it will be I hope sympathetically and prayerfully.
I thank you for this opportunity of meeting so distinguished an assembly. I value it highly, and I am exceedingly grateful to you for giving me the opportunity of coming. (Loud applause)
The President expressed the thanks of the members and their grateful appreciation of the Doctor's kindness in coming so opportunely to the aid of the Club.