AN ADDRESS BY RIGHT REVEREND CHARLES P.
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
May 6, 1924.
PRESIDENT BROOKS introduced the Bishop who said
Mr. President and Gentlemen,--As a general rule, I am greatly handicapped by introductory speeches that are so complementary that I cannot live up to them. But the story with which your President introduced me today has the rare merit of being absolutely true. (Laughter)
I am not at all sure of the appropriateness of speaking about Internationalism on an occasion of this sort or whether thisis the right time or place. But of one thing we are all quite sure, that it is a most important subject. (Hear, hear) -It is a subject that is being considered in all quarters of the globe. Internationalism does not involve antinationalism or unpatriotism. Nevertheless, Internationalism does involve somewhat the surrender of national ambitions and some reconsideration of the ground which patriotism is supposed to cover. It seems to me that there are no countries in the world where the question of Internationalism could be considered with so much equanimity as in Canada and the United States, unless perhaps the water
Rt. Reverend Charles Palmerston Anderson, D.D., is a Canadian by birth, educated at Trinity College School, Port Hope, and Trinity University. He was rector of Beachburgh, Ontario, 1888-1891, and of Grace Church, Oak Park, Illinois, 1891-1900. In 1900 he was chosen Bishop of Chicago. He is a brilliant preacher, a fine organizer, and a tireless worker on behalf of social service. He was one of the three bishops chosen for the World Conference on Christian Unity.
question--(laughter)--might make a discussion of it a little warm at the present time.
Canada is a part of the British Empire. The British Empire encircles the globe. The sun never sets on it. As I see it, it is an international federation of free and independent peoples exhibiting considerable variety of customs, employing many languages, having many religions, but a unit nevertheless under common ideals, working under a common flag and supporting a King that is beloved of all his constituents. (Applause)
On the south of Canada is the United States. Between that country and this there is a line which is scarcely more than an imaginary line except for political purposes. I have crossed that line, as many of you have, at different points and I have never seen guns or forts or garrisons or soldiers or anything that was likely to menace peace on either side of the border. I lived in Canada until I had reached young manhood. I have been over in the United States now for something like thirty years. In all those years I have never heard with my own ears any statement made concerning our northern neighbour that was not a statement of admiration, respect and affection. (Applause) It may be that from time to time some individuals, generally in political circles, may speak unadvisedly with their lips, but I believe I know the pulse of the American people as a whole, and the American people have not a shadow of aggressiveness towards Canada and they have not a shadow of suspicion of any aggressiveness from the other side. (Applause)
Consequently, at this place it is possible for us to think about Internationalism without either of us getting in serious trouble, and it is a subject concerning which we will have to do a great deal of thinking out towards the circumference before we will be ready to come to the centre.
The spirit of Internationalism is growing in our time. There are some things that are incurably international. Art is international. No one would think of attaching any special merit to a picture because it was painted by a member of a certain nationality. Art is art the world over. Merit is merit the world over. Science is international. When one of your young men of the medical profession made a discovery that is likely to attack one of those diseases that was ravaging mankind, he rendered a service not only to the people of one nation but to humanity throughout the world. (Applause) And when the government of Canada endowed a man of that sort it endowed a better human race. Literature is international. Shakespeare belongs to the United States as much as to you. We enjoy Professor Leacock over there as much as you do here. (Applause) Education ought to be international--perhaps more international than it is. The Rhodes Foundation made a good start in internationalizing education. The interchange of professorships which is taking place throughout the world today is a splendid and hopeful sign of coming good feeling. But while education ought to be thoroughly education, there are certain aspects of education, I think in every country in the world, which tend towards anti-cosmopolitanism, which tend towards a false patriotism which are apt to beget barriers between people between whom those barriers ought not to exist. I refer to the teaching of history from a nationalistic basis in nearly all schools and colleges throughout the world.
As I stand here in Toronto I remember well my text-book on history when I was a boy in the schools here in the Province of Ontario. That text-book was a story of kings and wars. British history I saw through a telescope-the history of the other parts of the world largely through a microscope. I was taught to venerate some of my ancestors as United Empire Loyalists. I went across to the other side and found that my ancestors were regarded as rebels. (Applause) I read a little French history when I grew up, and found that French history had about the same attitude towards England as English history had towards France.
It was this that led me to welcome a book which has been open to very serious criticism but which, nevertheless, it seems to me, starts a new idea of the teaching of history--I refer to that well-known book, "Wells' Outlines of History." I do not know any book in which I should find so many things with which I disagree (laughter) and at the same time a book whose main principles so entirely agree with my own ideas. The book finds few great among men and women. The glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome cannot be found within its pages, but it is an attempt nevertheless to teach history from the standpoint of humanity and progress rather than from a merely nationalistic standpoint; and it seems to me until we begin to learn history from the point of view of the unity of the whole human race rather than from the prejudicial point of view of particular nations, that we are likely to continue the sort of thing that breeds war and trouble between the nations of the world. (Applause)
Religion ought to be international. The Christian religion cannot be true to itself if it is anything else than international in its scope and in its outlook. Christian religion speaks and thinks and should act in terms of the whole human race and of human needs everywhere. Take its fundamental principles: "I believe in God." It is the God who has made of one blood all nations of men who dwell on the face of the whole earth in whom many of us express our belief. "I believe in Christ"--He is the light of the world. It would be an impertinence for any race or nation to think they had any monopoly of Him. "I believe in the Spirit of God" as the most energising thing in the lives of men. "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church" as something that is destined to surround the world, something which knows nothing of these artificial and political barriers which men erect between themselves.
Those are the postulates of religion, and the language which religion speaks is the language of brotherhood and fellowship and friendship and justice and mutual helpfulness and co-operation. (Applause) If religion ever speaks a note that falls short of internationalism it is striking a note that is something less than Christian, and I am not sure but what the Christian church, which ought to be so international-has been responsible for a great many of those barriers that divide people by allowing an international religion to become nationalized in so many of the countries of the world. (Hear, hear) It may be that the Lord Bishop of Toronto will inhibit me for what I am about to say, and that he will forbid me to speak tonight. (Laughter) I have come into contact with established churches nearly all over the world. I cannot avoid coming to the conclusion that an established church tends to pull the church down rather than to pull the nation up.
I well recall my first visit to Europe. I was quite young. There are some military men who may not agree with what I am about to say now, so I am liable to get into trouble on all sides. (Laughter) I remember well the shock that came to me at finding war flags in the churches of England and France and Germany-honored and tattered flags which represented great service to the country and all that, but it seemed to me then, and it seems to me now, that the house of God is no place for an emblem which reminds us of the way one set of Christians killed another set of Christians. If we are to do anything in our day and generation to make a civilization that we can gladly allow our children and grandchildren to grow up in, we will have to arrive at some kind of international arrangement which will tend to lessen or abrogate war. (Hear, hear)
What about war? What is the conclusion that we ought to come to about it? One thing is perfectly sure, Gentlemen, you must not allow yourselves to be stampeded into either militarism, pacificism, jingoism or any other kind of "ism." I take it that Canada, like the land of the south, is the land of the free and the home of the brave. And we must be brave enough to claim our freedom to arrive at conclusions without being let or hindered by any thing other than the consideration of the welfare of the human race. There are people who believe that war is essentially immoral and unchristian. The Quakers are amongst them. They are a splendid set of people. The number of people who agree with them is constantly increasing. When one considers that most of the wars that have cursed mankind have been at some point or other wars of aggression and acquisitiveness, which sought to obtain by physical force what could not have been secured by right; when one considers the hatreds that wars engender, the lives that are required to propagate them and the slaughter of the innocents, and their brutalizing effect upon the human race, it might almost seem as if it were a one-sided subject. On the other hand, there have been times, and there may be again, when a willingness to die for a good cause is the highest type of Christian conduct. (Applause) Even we have to distinguish between willingness to die and willingness to kill.
Several years have elapsed since that last Great War. Did Canada do an immoral act in entering upon that war? Did the United States, which came in, as some of us think, very late in the day? Looking back over all, after having time to reflect, we cannot think that we acted upon that occasion on any other basis than the basis of a moral necessity. (Hear, hear) In spite of the fact of the paralysis which followed in various parts of the world, in spite of the set-back to civilization, we, nevertheless, feel that it was a moral right for us to do what we did, as it would have been a moral wrong to do otherwise. (Applause) Well then, may not the same conditions arise again? Yes. May there not be a great moral necessity again? Yes. Will a continuance of that sort of thing cause the human race to deteriorate and our civilization to collapse? Yes. What then are we going to do about it? It is at this point, it seems to me, that people divide into three camps. There are the militarists or the warmakers who glory in war. There are the pacificists or the peacekeepers, and there are the peacemakers. I insist on dividing them up into three classes rather than into two. I refuse to be classified with the militarists or the pacificists. I do not propose to be left out of consideration.
The militarists could be left out of consideration because no thoughtful man will admit that he is a militarist. It has seemed to me that the weakness of the pacificist's position--and I dislike greatly to criticize it--is that the weakness is twofold; first, that it would commit a man now to what he is going to do fifty years from now or ten years from now before he can anticipate what the circumstances are going to be. Secondly, it undertakes to preserve the present peace conditions throughout the world. But, Gentlemen, present conditions do not make for peace. Present conditions make for war. World civilization today is on a clear war basis. Now then, there is where the peace-maker comes in and the programme of the peace-maker is to change the conditions, to exterminate the war germs, but I would remind you, Gentlemen, that that is going to be just as expensive a programme as war might be, and it is going to require a higher kind of courage than even war requires. For the peace-maker has a programme that may involve the economic reconstruction of society. It may involve the overthrow of political parties. It may involve a man's subjecting himself to journalistic and political terrorism but, I tell you, Gentlemen, the game is worth the candle. (Applause)
There is a new element in all this situation at the present time, and that is coming from the youth. There is a great deal in the revolt of youth that we are hearing about and, curiously enough, the revolt of youth against war began in Germany and it is spreading. It is spreading throughout the colleges and throughout the young people of the land. They have a right to revolt. Men who are as old as I am have no grounds for being conceited with themselves for what they have done in their day and generation. I tell you we old men, politically, have made a good deal of a botch of things. (Laughter) And the young generation have a perfect right to say what sort of a civilization they are going to grow up in. (Hear, hear) They have a right to revolt against the political and religious blunders which church and state have combined to make in our generation. (Applause) I feel assured that you will agree with me then that the programme of the present time, difficult as it is, is to bring about, somehow, some formulated or articulated Internationalism in which such an abiding principle as peace, fair-play and justice will become politically incorporated. (Great applause)