- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 6 Feb 1919, p. 109-121
- Stewart, John A., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Some general comments on natural law; that the laws of growth and decay are inevitable. The speaker's finding that the project to organize a League of nations to enforce peace some elements which seem to exist in contravention of the operation of natural law. The speaker's initial commendation of the League of Nations to enforce peace, but a belief that the only practicable League of nations possible of organization and permanent maintenance is that between the American Republic and the commonwealth of Great Britain. Reasons for that belief. The Anglo-Saxon idea. The nature of the Germans. The time coming when in this world two ideas will obtain; one held in the Anglo-Saxon mind, and the other the idea held east of Berlin. The inability of this world for these two ideas to exist side by side without antagonism. Attempting to define "League" and its nature. Facing the future as English-speaking Britishers. The importance of America and Britain standing together. Furthering the ends of friendship between America and Canada, and through Canada with Great Britain. Words from Theodore Roosevelt on this subject. A personal anecdote from the speaker's experiences with Roosevelt. What the Germans and their allies did before American went into the war, and what they did, beginning with 1907, as nothing compared with what they are trying to do today. A review of current events in this regard. Ways in which friendship may be cultivated. Canadians going to America as prophets and teachers, and Americans coming to Canada; Americans going to Britain, and the British coming to America. This exchange to be done on a large scale. Bringing together hundreds and thousands of Americans, of Canadians, of citizens of Great Britain into friendly association so that they may know how superficial are the differences which divide them. Activities to this end in the United States. Celebrating the Tercentenary of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620 on the coast of Plymouth. Remembering that moment in history. The need today for a consciousness of race, a consciousness of what the democracy of the English-speaking world means, a consciousness of the things which we have done, a consciousness of the things for which we stand, a consciousness of the cause underlying all the democracy of the English-speaking nations. The foundation of the League of Nations not to enforce peace, but to give peace the most workable directing, in the sense of obligation which enters today into everything we do in a governmental way. Achievements of the English-speaking world.
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- 6 Feb 1919
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BRITISH AND AMERICAN
AN ADDRESS BY JOHN A. STEWART
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
Thursday, February 6, 1919.
PRESIDENT STAPELLS: : Canadians were thrilled when the message came from the United States that our American cousins had decided upon "Britain's * Day." (Applause.) In order to pay tribute to our motherland for the great work she had done in the war. Manynice things have been said by our friends to the south about Canada's part in the struggle, but while we appreciate very much indeed this indication of their friendliness I would like to say to our guest that nothing they did, nothing they said during the whole of the war appealed to Canadians as much as that "Britain's Day" tribute to the mother-land. (Applause.) We have a very real privilege and pleasure in welcoming today the one man above all others who was responsible for that "Britain's Day," and I am sure that our hearts
John A. Stewart was born in Stewartown, Ontario, which was founded by his grandfather. In 1907 in conjunction with President Roosevelt, he began the American-British Friendship Movement; organized the Hundred Years of Peace celebration committees in 1909, and in 1914 was the prime mover in the establishment of the Sulgrave Institute in New York, which was incorporated to foster friendship and prevent misunderstanding among English-speaking peoples. Before the United States entered the war he was active in fostering the strongest sympathy with the Allies, and he with others, in the United States and in Great Britain, organized to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrim fathers and the beginnings and development-from Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights down-of the free institutions of the Englishspeaking nations. As head of the Sulgrave Institute he instituted the celebration of "Britain's Day" in the United States.
will go out to him because of that fact. You know, Canadians would not be human if they were not conscious of the fact that we did our bit along with the other portions of the Empire in the war; but surely we would have been unworthy sons of worthy sires if we had not been willing, nay, anxious, to follow the glorious lead given to us and the glorious example as shown to us by the dear old mother-land. Our guest of today is one of the best friends the British Empire has in the United States. He was one of the founders, in conjunction with the late Col. Roosevelt, of the American-British friendship movement. He helped to organize the hundred years of peace celebration committees in 1909 and 1914. He was the moving spirit in the celebrated institution for the purpose of fostering friendship between the United States and the British Empire, and last, but not least, brought about "Britain's Day";' so it must be apparent to you that he has spent a great deal of his time fostering this goodwill between the-two nations. (Applause.)
MR. JOHN A. STEWART was received with applause and said: I find, whenever I rise to address a Canadian audience, a tendency inherited from my father, who was of Canadian birth (Applause.) to address my audience as "Mr. Chairman, my friends and fellowcitizens." (Laughter and applause.) Aside from the pleasure which I always find in meeting Canadian friends and in making new acquaintances, at this particular time I find a deeper pleasure because I believe that it is my duty, as it is the duty of everyone of us, at this particular time, to keep constantly in our minds the fact that the world's most important question today is not so much the League of Nations as it is unity in essentials among English-speaking peoples. (Hear, hear and applause.) for on that is based the real welfare of humanity. (Hear, hear.)
Where to begin, what phases of this tremendous question to discuss, certainly puzzles anyone who has entered into it deeply. But I want briefly, first of all, to say one thing as the foundation of my argument, and that is, that never yet-except in favor of divinity
and through the divine causation-has natural law been suspended in this world for any man or any group of men; no man yet has been able to lift himself by his boot-straps; no man yet, no group of men, have been able to prevent reaction following action. The laws of growth and decay are inevitable, and they control every affair of man, and I seem to find in the project to organize a League of Nations to enforce peace, some elements which seem to exist in contravention of the operation of natural law.
We have gone through a tremendous struggle, and the causes which led up to that struggle reach into the remote past. At the bottom of it is race-consciousness, and raceconsciousness, even in the individual, is the most powerful, the most moving sentiment that a man possesses; and after all, no matter what .may be said or done, no matter what may be attempted or what may be thought of, in its finality blood is thicker than water, and in the final estimate of.things in a great contest, men of one blood and one thought and one mind naturally gravitate together. (Applause.) As a man who supported the movement to bring about the organization of a League of Nations to enforce peace, I want to say that in the beginning I commended it for its idealism, but I held, with Professor Giddings and the late William P. Howland-God bless him-of the "Independent," that the only practicable League of Nations that was possible of organization and permanent maintenance was that between the American Republic and the commonwealth of Great Britain. (Hear, hear and applause.) For when you project the idea beyond that as its foundation, as its melting influence, you project it into directions whence there is a race-consciousness, a diversity of thought and idea, and an opposition of ideals, a certain peculiar and particular way of doing things to which those who hold them are as entitled, as we are to our way of doing things, but which Nature has set down as opposing that which we believe and which we know is the great Anglo-Saxon ideal. And the great Anglo-Saxon ideal, the ideal to which Canada and America and Great Britain adhere, is the ideal of fair play, of giving a fellow a place for his feet, of protecting the weak, of standing out against the strong in favor of the weak, of upholding the ideal of the home; and it is only an Englishspeaking man that could have conceived the thought and given utterance to it, that "an Englishman's home is his castle," and across his threshold no man, be he president or king, could pass to his despite, save armed by the right of law. (Hear, hear and applause.)
Those are the things which we of Anglo-Saxon blood and birth hold dear, which are our very life, and divested of them we cease to be what we are.
Now, I am not one of those who hold against Germany that she has committed an unnatural crime, because I believe the crime which Germany committed against humanity was natural in the German mind and heart and spirit. I believe that what she did, she did with the unconsciousness of the tiger that rends its prey, (Hear, hear.) and I hold that Germany has done what she has done because it is not her nature to do anything else. (Laughter.) Therefore I do not hold that Germany is so much to blame as others are inclined to. I was asked today what I would do had I the power, in punishment of the Kaiser, and I said I should let him be. (Hear, hear and laughter.) That is the great punishment to mete out to a man of his type. Well now, gentlemen, that is just the point. We are, in our nature-in our animal nature, if you will-born possessed of certain impulses. We have a certain natural way of doing things, and that way is what differentiates us from every other nationality; but in us our raceconsciousness is no greater than in the minds of other people, and therefore when I say that in the course of events it was inevitable that the practical idealism of the Anglo-Saxon English-speaking world should be opposed in arms by that which Germany represents, why, it was like saying that two times two are four. It was inevitable. And I tell you, just as surely as the Lord Almighty lives, and as we move and have our being under laws imposed by Nature, of which we cannot rid ourselves, that at some time, and not a very long time ahead, we of the English-speaking world will be called upon unitedly to sacrifice for our ideals, for our lives, our liberty and our sacred honor, more than we have sacrificed in this war. Because the time is coming when in this world two ideas will obtain. One is the idea held today in the Anglo-Saxon mind, and the other is the idea held east of Berlin; and this world is not large enough for the two ideas to exist side by side without antagonism.
Now, I sat through thirteen meetings of the League to enforce Peace, and I maintain, with Professor Giddings, and with the late William P. Howland , that we should define "League" and that we should define it's nature, and that in its essence and in the final analysis of it, it must be found, as it is being found now at Versailles, that its foundation, its only foundation, the only thing which could give meaning to it, which could vitalize it, which could make it real in the affairs of men, was unity, in essentials among people who have the English speech, (Applause.) and beyond that, aside from the natural adherence to such a coalition, are the nations of goodwill which could gravitate towards such a combination, such an alliance, such a league, because in that they would find the best assurance for the future.
On my side of the border two opinions hold. One opinion is idealism, which I myself as a Republican, and as a follower of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, believe to be in contravention of common sense; and the other equally idealistic, is founded upon common experience. I do not believe that you can get the lion and the lamb lying together without the lamb being, inevitably, sooner or later, in the stomach of the lion, (Laughter.) and therefore I came here today because I want to impress upon you, my friends, this one fact--and it is the most important fact in the world today--that everything that you and I hold dear, everything which the world strives to attain today, all its aspirations and the ideals of the Czecho-Slovacs, the Jugo-Slavs, the Poles, and all the little nations that Ire struggling out into the sun and working only for an opportunity to live and to grow-all of those things are achievable only if we who speak the English tongue stand together and face the future like Britishers. (Loud applause.) All else sinks into insignificance. The fears of the individual, his business and social fears, all of those little petty, insignificant things which come into our daily lives and irritate us when we are a little bilious, and which we overlook when there is not any particular bile on our minds or stomachs-I tell you this is not a time for pin-pricking. (Hear, hear.) This is not a time for a man to say, "Well, you are all right in your place, but I am a little better." This is no time for me to say "My way of doing things is the only way of doing things, and yours is a silly, foolish way." This is the time when any government of any people, I don't care what it is, which assumes as a policy of its politics the attitude of observer of its obligations to its neighbors, indulging in pinpricks or threats which have no basis except in sound. is doing not only a foolish thing but a criminal thing. It is a crime not only against us but against humanity. (Applause.) For I say again that the greatest thing in the world today is that we of America, and you of Britain, should stand together shoulder to shoulder to face the future. I cannot repeat that too often. The future is not all full of roses and sunshine and perfumed air; the future holds many grave dangers for us, many perplexing problems which can be solved only if we stand together and collectively attempt their solution. If there be aught of disunity amongst us, then, my friends, inevitably there will be danger.
Now, let me tell you--and these things I say as facts--in 1907, talking with my friend the then President Roosevelt-God bless his memory-(Hear, hear and applause.) I said to him, "Colonel, one of the great things which your administration could do would be to further the ends of friendship between ourselves and Canada, and through Canada with Great Britain';" and he said to me then, as he said to me often afterwards, and particularly when I called upon him as I was organizing the Centenary Committee to celebrate the Century of Peace among English-speaking peoples, that the only practicable, common-sense peace move in the world today was that in the direction of friendship between America and Great Britain, for upon that the peace of the world depended. Theodore Roosevelt told me also, not many months ago, that if he lived to be nominated and elected again as President of the United States his chief work would be to bring together the American Republic and the Commonwealth of Great Britain into an indissoluble bond of friendship, and to inculcate the idea in the American mind as well as in the British mind that we sink or swim together. (Loud applause.) Now, that was in the thought of Col. Roosevelt, and he was my friend whose memory I revere. If you will permit a digression, I met him first out on the plains in 1880; he had a ranch up in the Little Missouri country, and I was down in the Jim River country. We were what in that section is known as neighbors-in-law; that is to say, he was one hundred and twenty-five or one hundred and fifty miles away. Our nearest neighbor was ten miles, and I think the next was twenty-five or thirty miles, and we who were out there in those days had a habit of intimacy, and our thoughts as regards one another were very friendly. You may remember, in Owen Wister's book, "The Virginians," about a Virginian who went west and became a cow-puncher, and how he pointed a revolver at the man who used a certain friendly epithet towards him and said, "Smile, damn you, smile;" and the first time I heard of Theodore Roosevelt was that affair he had in Little Missouri, that is, after he had gone with his rifle after a couple of cattle thieves, and he had captured them and brought them back to the nearest hamlet, and they were prosecuted in the court, and sent up for long terms. That was one of the things which Roosevelt did. Despite the lineage of which he often boasted, his Dutch ancestry-while it may have cropped out a little in his appearance, and in his mind and activities, in his way of looking at things, in his way of playing the game, in his way of hitting hard in the thing that he believed to be right-Theodore Roosevelt was as fine an example of Anglo-Saxon heredity as lived on earth while he was on earth. (Hear, hear and applause.) Always in his mind ran the thought that the peace of the world depended upon Anglo-American initiative, and that it was in that direction the policy of the government of the United States should tend. I remember one day when my wife and I were guests at the White House, shortly before the American fleet went around the world-and there was wonderment in the minds of many people as to why the President should order that done, and some said, "Oh, it is directed to this country or that country, or Great Britain," and though all the pro-Germans were very active at that time and said, "Why, we have only one enemy in the world towards whom it could be directed:"-it happened that there was a country that had been indulging in pinpricks. The navy accomplished a great adventure, and perhaps to some extent saved that country from the consequences of its conduct by the action of Mr. Roosevelt, who took one practicable means of demonstrating the capacity of the United States at that time to stand upon its own feet and fight its own battles. What he did was a matter of practical politics, and as it worked out it accorded precisely with the preconceived idea he had in his mind as to what would be the result. At luncheon one day at that time he said, "If I were to tell the people of America what we have had to stand for the last year there would be such a wave of indignation roll from Maine to California that I would not myself be responsible for the result; but the situation has inclined me more and more to believe that the peace of the world and the welfare of humanity rest with people who have the English speech, and that the American policy and British policy should be one, which should draw us together and which should not tend towards any disseverance." I hope you will pardon this digression, because I could speak for several hours of Col. Roosevelt, and I want to say to you, my friends, at this present moment, that the great thing with Canadians, not as Canadians but as individuals; and the great thing with Americans, not as Americans but as individuals, is this matter of Anglo-American friendship; and it must be furthered, and it shall be, and nobody, whether German, or Sinn-Feiner, will be permitted to drive a wedge into that friendship which has been baptized in the blood of the trenches, and which in a spiritual way has sacrificed much, not for herself, but for others. (Loud applause.)
Now let me tell you that what the Germans and their allies did before America went into the war, and what they did, beginning with 1907, is as nothing compared with what they are trying to do today. The campaign of deliberate lying, of deliberate attempt to deceive, of deliberate attempt to stir up prejudice and race feeling, is on foot, and the victims of this plot are to be the United States of America, the Commonwealth of England,, and France. Agents are abroad as part of an organization, and they are doing an organized work in the United States, in Great Britain, in France, in Canada -a work which tends to instill subtle suspicion into the minds of Americans-"Well, after all, the British are not such good friends of ours as they try to make out," or-"Well, the Canadians talk friendship, but this thing is so, that thing is so, and do they really mean it?" or-"Well, the American soldiers were gouged by the French, who were after the money in the soldiers' pockets, who cared nothing for their welfare"-and so on, and so on; and "We did not find a very friendly reception in France." And thus stories are being told, and they are told circumstantially, and names and dates are given, and there is just enough of a shred of a basis of fact in what is said to make the lie all the more dangerous. Now, this is no time to permit ourselves to be prejudiced or biased by little things. (Hear, hear and applause.) To use the words of a great American statesman in a time of anger recently on the floor of the Senate-for which he afterwards apologized-"I don't care a 'damn' what any particular newspaper says; I don't care what any organization says; I don't care what any society says; I don't care how much lying is going on; I will not be moved from the thought of the main objective, the great thing in my life and the lives of others, in the welfare of the world, and that is, friendship among English-speaking peoples." (Hear, hear and applause.) And this is a time when each man should say to himself, "I swear by ail that I hold most dear, and by the Lord above, that I will not be moved from my thought of friendship for my blood-kin, no matter what lies Germans or Sinn Veiners may tell." (Hear, hear and applause.)
Now, there are many ways in which friendship may be cultivated. The first and great essential of fried ship is association. Men must meet men. In a very, humble way, in the way in which I am doing here today, Canadians must go to America as prophets and teachers, and Americans must come here. Americans must go to Britain, and the British must come to America. That is being done on a small scale, but it is not done on a large scale. Everything that tends to bring together in large numbers the peoples of our respective nations is a furthering of the ends of good understanding, because, after all, friendship is based only upon understanding; men who do not understand each other cannot be friends. Therefore it was in the mind of Col. Roosevelt, as it is in the mind of thousands and thousands of Americans, that we organize a committee to celebrate the Century of Peace, that what we should do would be to bring together hundreds and thousands of Americans, of Canadians, of citizens of Great Britain, into friendly association so that they may know how superficial are the differences which divide them. (Applause.) That is the great thing and the main thing, and we are about to further that end in the United States through the initiation of a movement, which has a splendid start in Great Britain, to celebrate the Tercentenary of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620, on December 18th, 1920, and not on the rock-bound coast, but on the contrary, on the muddy coast of Plymouth. And that is one of the great outstanding events in Anglo-American history, for in tile Mayflower compact, which was a compact entered into by the Pilgrims on board the Mayflower, only a few days before they landed at Plymouth, they agreed upon a scheme of government, and that government had in it really the essence of democracy, a Republican democracy, of the responsibility of the majority, to which those things only are a trend toward the general welfare; and only the year before, in the state of Virginia, there was held the first legislative assembly on the soil of America, and that was a great outstanding event in Anglo-Saxon history, because that marked in a way, the development of the great Anglo-Saxon democratic movement. Those things we want to celebrate in correlation with that great world-event, Magna Charta, and the revolt of the 17th century, which by some is called the Cromwellian Revolution, and by others the Revolution of the Commonwealth. The American Revolution, was a revolution of Englishmen against Englishmen, a revolution of Englishmen against the tyranny of a German king, a man who could not speak the English language, (Applause.) led by an Englishman in whose veins there was not another drop of blood but English blood, who, on his knees praying to God Almighty, looked forward to the day when the colonies of England should compose their differences upon a friendly basis, and that there should be no physical disseverance of that relationship which had endured for nearly two centuries. Then, later, the formulation and the drafting of the constitution of the United States, and later the Emancipation Proclamation, the essence of which was democracy, equal rights. All of those things, up to the time of the Great War, where the Americans and the British and the Canadians stood side by side in defence of their ideals, are milestones in the progress of the Anglo-Saxon world. When I say Anglo-Saxon world I want to call attention to a great outstanding fact of history, that in its democracy those who speak our language and are governed by laws written in the mother tongue are anywhere from one to three centuries ahead of any other nation on earth in the recognition of the rights of man. (Applause.)
What we need today more than anything else is a consciousness of race, a consciousness of what the democracy of the English-speaking world means, a consciousness of the things which we have done, a consciousness of the things for which we stand, a consciousness of the cause underlying all the democracy of the English-speaking nations. The finality and the very foundation, the very corner-stone of that which may be, in the fullness of time, the League of Nations, not to enforce peace but to give peace the, most workable directing, is the sense of obligation which enters today into everything we do in a governmental way, and enters into all our social relations. We have achieved it to a degree that other races do not know it. We achieved it when we coined the word, "gentleman," and applied it to a man, not as regards his birth, but as regards his worth. (Applause.) My wife called my attention the other day to the manuscript of a German play, and in that manuscript were these words-it was a comedy, I believe-"Dupes, (not gentlemen) peace to you." There was no word in the German language that meant "gentlemen." (Laughter and applause.) They have filched from us, for purposes of their literature, the word which I believe stands at the very height of all words which express human and humane things. (Applause.) We have achieved what no other people have achieved; and I do not say it in the spirit of boasting, but in the spirit of historic fact and historic accuracy; we have achieved a sense of that which in itself represents in its essence a very distinct achievement in human development, that is to say, we have evolved that sense of humanness for which no word has as yet been coined to give to it a proper and adequate expression, that is to say, the sense of philanthropy, by which I mean that we not only stand to be taxed for humane ends, not only to maintain our eleemosynary institutions, but wherever the hand of Providence rests heavily upon any land, be it a flood in China, a famine in Ireland-and this is a good thing for some of the Irish to remember-(Laughter.) or a famine in India, there the philanthropic sense of the English-speaking peoples extends, and aid is rushed to that spot to succor the distressed, and we never think whether the man is white or yellow or black, or what his race or what his creed. (Loud applause.)
Every year there is given in the United States for purposes which are classified as philanthropic, more money, ten times over, than is given by all the rest of the world put together; and everywhere throughout the English-speaking United States you will see great buildings devoted to Art or Science or Literature or Education. There you see the hospital devoted to the suffering sick; here you see a great foundation with millions and millions at its command, devoted entirely to the furthering of the plans to relieve world-distress; or an investment which tends to further the condition of general health, to eradicate disease, to abolish poverty. Everywhere in the English-speaking world are these institutions, and appliances and means for the amelioration of society physically, mentally and spiritually. (Applause.)