Fraternal Greetings from Uncle Sam
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 10 Feb 1921, p. 50-59
Lord, Arthur; Taft, Henry; Kellen, William B., Speaker
Media Type
Item Type
Arthur Lord:
Monies appropriated towards the commemoration of the landing of the Pilgrims from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Federal Government and elsewhere. A description of the celebration which marked the 300th anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims. Characterization of the "Pilgrim quality," with historical instances. The form of the celebration. Bringing together the great English-speaking nations, provinces, dominions.
Henry Taft:
Some words on the speaker's ancestry. The speaker's first visit to Toronto 48 years ago and what it was like then. The speaker's experiences as a Canadian cottage owner. An expression of the warmth of feeling that Americans have for Canadians.
Wm. B. Kellen:
Several amusing stories with regard to the Pilgrims. A toast to the union of the British Empire and the United States, "the greatest hope of our future civilization, the greatest promise of happiness to humanity."
Date of Original
10 Feb 1921
Language of Item
Copyright Statement
The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
Empire Club of Canada
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Full Text
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
February 10, 1921

PRESIDENT MITCHELL: Gentlemen,--Today this Empire Club of Canada is meeting at a unique time. This morning General Smuts and his party in South Africa have won the day (loud applause) so we have this morning sent a cable to Gen. Smuts with hearty congratulations from the Empire Club of Canada. I am sure you will approve of the action. (Hear, hear) Now, Gentlemen, I will let you into a secret. The speaker who was to come here today to tell us the story about Hudson Bay has not yet arrived. Personally I feel mortified, and so does the Committee. But there is another part of the secret which I will disclose in a moment. Capt. State was to have told the story of Hudson Bay. We came here to hear that story; but we are going to hear a story that, while different, is quite similar, because the story of Hudson Bay in a large measure is the story of Canada and the early Pilgrims who came here 300 years ago, and that story is closely interwoven with Canadian history. By a fortunate circumstance we have visiting our city today several gentlemen of the American Bar Association who are attending the annual meeting of our own Bar Association, among them being the President of the Pilgrim Society, and he is going to tell us about the Pilgrims who came to Canada and the United States three hundred years ago. (Applause) I say this is a very fortuitous circumstance, because it is only within the last twenty minutes that we have plucked up courage to ask these gentlemen to speak-these gentlemen who are our guests. I have much pleasure, then, in calling upon Mr. Arthur Lord, of Boston, Massachusetts, the President of the Pilgrim Society, and late President of the Massachusetts Bar Association.


Gentlemen of the Empire Club, -I sympathize with you in your misfortune, and you can sympathize with me in my embarrassment in having to deal with such a subject after such a brief introduction. I wish the speaker of the afternoon, Capt. State, could have told his story. I suppose he is a regular, but sometimes, when the regulars don't come up in season, we have to call on volunteers (laughter) and I am drafted this afternoon as a volunteer. You were to hear about the Hudson's Bay Company. Now, how widely different the two subjects. How can I speak on Hudson Bay? We lawyers are a good deal more familiar with hot water than with cold water (laughter) and so I am going to adopt the suggestion of my friend, your presiding officer, and make some remarks about the celebration in which we are very much interested in New England and in the United States, and in which I hope to interest you for a moment, in the hope that we may have the pleasure of seeing many of you there during the coming summer. (Hear, hear)

I noticed, as I entered Canada the other day, on one of the great buildings near the Welland Canal in the town of Welland, the words "The Plymouth Cordage Co." It is a familiar sound, for I passed by it in Plymouth, Mass., the other day on my way to Boston. I am very glad to know that, at least in business matters, we are friends and neighbours. (Applause)

Now, this world is divided, as I regard it, into three classes of men. In the first class there are those whose heads are always in the air, and their feet rarely on the ground; the second class are those whose feet are always on the ground and their heads never in the air among the realms of vision; and the third and the better and greater class, which the business men of both peoples represent, are the men whose heads are in the clouds and whose feet are on the ground, and who do not attempt to do impossibilities or to overcome insuperable obstacles, but recognize with practical common sense what is positive and possible and helpful, and then unite and find some way of doing it. (Applause) In that effort to meet the great responsibilities of the present and the future, the cause of freedom, of civilization and humanity, we want the people on both sides of that imaginary line which divides us to unite cordially without the slightest suspicion of misunderstanding or distrust. (Applause)

This is a company of business men, and I am going to begin by saying something about money that is invested in an enterprise, so you will know it is not entirely a dream of mine. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has appropriated $300,000 approximately, towards the commemoration of the landing of the Pilgrims, and the Federal Government has appropriated $300,000 to help it on. I said last night, and I am glad to repeat it here, that the Chairman of the Federal Commission is the gentleman who will be the next President of the United States. (Applause) Then from individuals, patriotic societies, and in other ways, an equal sum has been secured; so that within the course of a year or two, in this effort of commemoration of a great event in the history of the English-speaking world, nearly a million dollars is expended, and it mainly goes into simple and dignified and permanent memorials. (Hear, hear) We began the celebration on the 21st of December, the day which marked for us the 300th anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims-a company of 102 Englishmen and English women and children sailing under the English flag, the common language and literature and history and traditions of which we have today-and found themselves on a lonely and deserted spot on the coast of New England at the beginning of a winter. When the spring arrived and the Mayflower returned, it left behind it every passenger, the living and the dead-and nearly half had died.

Now, if I were to designate what I may term the "Pilgrim quality" I should refer to that incident in its history as an illustration that they were not men whom small things or large things dismayed and defeated, but men who having entered upon the enterprise were there to remain to the end. (Applause) They were Englishmen; they loved, and recalled with pleasure, the green fields where their children played, the church yards where their sires were laid; but they had entered upon a new adventure in the history of the world. They brought to us several great ideas. They brought the idea of religious toleration. That greatest gift of four centuries was the gift of the Pilgrims. They brought here that great English idea of home and family as the unit of the state for which not only palisades and forts were erected, but laws and ordinances established. They brought here the idea of civil liberty, and the ideas of justice and the sanctity of treaties. (Applause)

There are two illustrations in our history-for I am speaking as an Englishman to Englishmen-which are interesting and significant. The first was the treaty of the Pilgrims with an Indian tribe, evidencing the Golden Rule, and it was never broken while any of those who took part in the meeting of that day survived. The first American-born governor--Governor Josiah Winslow--could say of his colony that there was not a foot of land in the possession of any settler which was not acquired by true and honorable purchase from the aboriginal owners of the soil. (Applause) Now there is a land stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, marked by river and lake and prairie and mountain, and because there is a treaty stipulation made by members of the Anglo-Saxon race, the slumbers of the night are never disturbed nor the labours of the day interrupted by the fear of invasion. (Applause)

I want to add a single word as to the form of this celebration. We began in last December. It had already begun, perhaps, here in Canada; but it had begun in Holland, the Pilgrims' Home for twelve years, with appropriate exercises in the great university city and the great business city of Holland. It had begun in Plymouth and Southampton, in England, with appropriate ceremonies marking the spot from which the Mayflower sailed on its voyage to the new and waiting world. Now we take it up in Massachusetts. We take it up for this country, and for every country that cares to join with us in recognizing their service, the service of the Anglo-Saxon race, whose contributions to the science of government are unequalled. (Applause)

I took the liberty of dealing last night with an incident which, with your permission, I will repeat, which impressed me mightily at the time. I suppose you know, for the practice here is the same, that we commemorate great occasions with oration and with poem; and we had at that time at Plymouth the distinguished senator from Massachusetts, Senator Lodge; the Governor of the Commonwealth; the next VicePresident of the United States, Governor Coolidge; a distinguished poet from the neighbouring university. The address and poem, as might have been expected, from the orator and poet, were both fine and wonderful. But there was a little incident that day 'which impressed me more than all the others, and that was when the distinguished senator from Massachusetts had finished a quotation from the address of Daniel Webster, made a hundred years ago, in which he emphasized and pointed out the method of the celebration of 1920 and used these interesting and stately words: "On the morning of that day, the 21st of 'December, 1920, although it may not disturb us in our repose, the voice of acclamation and gratitude commencing upon the rock of Plymouth will be transmitted through the millions of the sons of the Pilgrims till it loses itself in the murmurs of Pacific Seas." Then, pausing for a moment, the Governor stepped forward, lifted the telephone from the stand, and conveyed the greetings of that great audience to the Executive Chamber in San Francisco. (Applause) The vision of Webster was realized in a way that even he could not have anticipated.

Now, we want to bring together these great Englishspeaking nations, provinces, dominions; and what better opportunity than to commemorate a great event in English history, of which England and Englishmen furnished the ship and the adventurers? (Loud applause)

PRESIDENT MITCHELL: I am sure you will agree with me that it was a very fortunate accident that gave us the opportunity to hear Mr. Lord today. (Applause) I will now call on Mr. Henry Taft, a member of the New York Bar.


Mr. President,--I am glad you did not extend your introductory remarks, because you would probably have gotten into that kind of vicarious flattering introduction involving a member of my family to which I have become more or less accustomed. (Laughter) So far as I personally am concerned, perhaps it would be more appropriate-at least in volume-if I were introduced, as a fellow-member of the Labour Party, in England, recently introduced Will Crooks, the leader of that party. He said, "I have only got two things to say about Bill Crooks; first, he has never been in jail (laughter); second, God knows why he is not." (Renewed laughter) Now, by the way, my time has not expired, but, if your chairman had not limited me to three and a half minutes and given my predecessor fifteen minutes, I would like to tell you about my ancestry; because they all came over, on both sides, 260 years ago, and settled in that precious Commonwealth of Massachusetts. My generation is the first to have gotten the leaven of Ohio (laughter); but my mother was born in Boston, and I feel safe. I can look from the outside at all of those achievements of my Puritan ancestors with something of detachment-which is not always easy for one who has remained always in that great Commonwealth, (Laughter)

When I came in here I asked a gentleman on the other side of me why this Club was called the Empire Club. I have not got an answer yet, except such an answer as the Dutchman gave when somebody asked him why he called his dog "Hans". "Well," he said, "because Hans is his name." (Great laughter) Now, I am going to get at you. On my first visit to Toronto-and it is about the only visit I ever made to Toronto-forty-eight years ago, I spent a summer over here, and I don't suppose many of you gentlemen, from your appearance, remember the conditions that prevailed in the metropolis of this Province in those days, because they used to close the shops and offices and banks for three hours in the middle of the day upon special occasions. You don't remember that, but that was the kind of a happy beatific life which was lived by the residents of Ontario in that day. (Laughter) Now, I have been a good deal of a Canadian myself; I have spent fifteen of the happiest summers of my life on the northern shores of the lower St. Lawrence, where I have a cottage in the shadows of the Laurentian Hills. I know the two storied races that inhabit this country. I have been under the spell of the romance of your rivers and your mountains and your lakes. I know "Johnny Corteau." I know all his people, and I know what your aspirations are. I know your national feeling, and I have had the warmest kind of feeling for Canada, and I always feel as if I was among friends when I come here. (Loud applause) But I know some of your weaknesses, too. You are a little sensitive. (Laughter) There is an active discussion going on in the New York papers now, and one correspondent summed the origin of the letters of the exported Canadians who live in New York City by saying that it amounted to this-that they were seriously concerned because Canada lay to the north of the country that lay south of them. Now, they talk about annexation up here. We don't hear much of it down our way, and it has altogether stopped since you adopted prohibition here. (Laughter) I am not usually in a company of this kind. Whenever I have had occasion to make a few remarks, on exceptional occasions-for I am not a talker-I do not talk much; I have another member of my family who is a preacher, but I do the practising. (Great laughter) I am not accustomed to be surrounded by this kind of company; I am generally in the company of a lot of lawyers; and they generally fill the stage.

I remember a story-and I suppose stories are not barred here, in spite of your Imperial name. Down in New York state in the old days the lawyers used to go on circuit, just as they do in England; and they used to go to the county seats and sit around in the evening and talk about their cases after they got back from court. They had in those country taverns what they called "cannon" stoves. I don't know whether you have that up here or not. It has a convenient rail around it, and they would sit around this stove with their feet up on this rail, swap stories and have a good time, spitting tobacco juice on the stove, and so forth. Well, one snowy winter night there came into the tavern a traveller covered with snow, cold, shivering, but he could not get anywhere near the stove because it was occupied by the lawyers. Pretty soon they began to jeer him. They asked him, "Have you travelled much?" He said, "Yes, I have travelled a good deal." They said, "Where have you been?" "Well, I have been to China, I have been to the South Sea Islands, I have been to Japan, I have been to Europe, I have been to Australia"-and so on to every place in the world, almost; and one of them said to him, "Ever been to Hell?" He said, "Yes, I've been to Hell." They said, "How are things there?" "Well," he said, "pretty much as it is here; all the lawyers are drawn up close to the fire." (Great laughter)

Now, Gentlemen, I have encroached far beyond my time. I only want to express my warm feeling and to convey to you on behalf of the people over on the other side of the border an expression of the warmth of feeling that they have for you. You must not think that because they don't talk about you all the time they are not thinking about you; but they are not thinking of some of the things that you think they are thinking about. (Laughter) They have got all they can do to attend to their own affairs; but nobody ever suggests that any necessity has arisen or ever will arise for erecting forts on the 3,000 miles of frontier, or putting battle-ships upon the great lakes. (Loud applause)

PRESIDENT MITCHELL: Gentlemen,-I think you will agree with me that that is a real Empire Club speech. I will now call on Mr. Wm. B. Kellen, Boston, Mass., also a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.


My. Chairman, and Gentlemen of the Empire Club,

I have good news for you-my remarks will be brief. They will resemble the present style of ladies' dress, as I heard it defined by a distinguished surgeon in Philadelphia the other night, "Long enough to cover what ought to be covered, and short enough to be interesting." (Laughter) My friend, Lord Arthur, the only member of the peerage in Massachusetts (laughter), if you don't believe me, read the Boston telephone book and you will see him put down as "Lord Arthur, Main 3472," has descanted upon the merits of the Pilgrim Fathers, but he has not told you about the Pilgrim Mothers. Judge Russell, of Plymouth, at the annual celebration on the 21st of December, always gave this toast, "Here's to the Pilgrim Mothers, who not only endured all the perils that the Pilgrim Fathers endured, but they endured the Pilgrim Fathers, too." (Great laughter) He has also failed to touch upon a historical fact of importance for my friend Lord Arthur is not only a distinguished member of the Massachusetts Bar, but is treasurer of the Massachusetts Historical Association, and devotes "fifty-fifty" to the law and to history. One of his ancestors on the maternal side was on the Mayflower, and just as that famous ship was pulling into Plymouth harbour that ancestor fell overboard. One of the seamen reached out with a boat-hook and caught him by the seat of the trousers. The trousers held. (Great laughter) They were made of a piece of English wool stuff, and they held. That was the first line in history of the Plymouth Rock pants and it is supposed to have slipped one over Lord Arthur. (Laughter)

It is a great pleasure to stand before an Ontario audience. I was going over once on the old "Saxonia", and the ship's company was made up of about half Canadians bound for Toronto and Montreal by way of Boston, and the other half by Americans. A busy man on board ship who was always getting up an entertainment' came and told me that Sir William so and so was going to preside and they only wanted one speech, and he wanted me to tell some stories. I went down to the cabin and could not think of a blessed story, but finally there came into my head one that was told to me by my friend, the Bishop of Rhode Island. He said that a friend of his in Philadelphia had his mother-in-law to live with him, and she was taken very ill. Happily, or unhappily, the family physician was out of town so he sent him this dispatch, "My mother-in-law lies at the gates of death; come and pull her through." (Great laughter) After that, Gentlemen I had no difficulty; other stories flowed in.

Let me give you the final sentiment. Here's to the union of the British Empire and the United States-the greatest hope of our future civilization, the greatest promise of happiness to humanity. (Applause) God Save the King; God Save the President and President elect of the United States. (Applause)

Six WILLIAM HEARST expressed the thanks of the Club to the speakers of the day who had entertained the audience with their eloquent and witty addresses. He added that every visit of distinguished gentlemen such as these from the great republic to the south would help to link together the two great English-speaking peoples for united work in the cause of humanity and the welfare of the world. (Applause)

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Fraternal Greetings from Uncle Sam

Arthur Lord:
Monies appropriated towards the commemoration of the landing of the Pilgrims from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Federal Government and elsewhere. A description of the celebration which marked the 300th anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims. Characterization of the "Pilgrim quality," with historical instances. The form of the celebration. Bringing together the great English-speaking nations, provinces, dominions.
Henry Taft:
Some words on the speaker's ancestry. The speaker's first visit to Toronto 48 years ago and what it was like then. The speaker's experiences as a Canadian cottage owner. An expression of the warmth of feeling that Americans have for Canadians.
Wm. B. Kellen:
Several amusing stories with regard to the Pilgrims. A toast to the union of the British Empire and the United States, "the greatest hope of our future civilization, the greatest promise of happiness to humanity."