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in this great uplifting work, and childhood more expectant of a brighter and better day, is the work of this century which you, the toilers, and the intelligent and sympathetic men and women, are effecting with a heroism and splendid effort that may not be understood or appreciated in our time. But as we sing the glories of the men who have won for us the great attributes and opportunities of freedom in our time, so those who follow us will realize that in our day, in the same measure that we perform our duties to our fellows, we will have performed the same great work for the social uplift and Universal Peace.
May I say just this one word? Like my friend who has preceded me, I did not expect to address this meeting; in fact, when I was asked to be present, I did not believe that it would be possible for me to be here, but our honored Chairman and the presiding genius of the People's Institute, Mr. Smith (applause), asked me a few minutes ago when I entered the hall whether I would not say a word to this meeting upon this all-pervading subject and I said that I would. Let me just add one word that presses upon my mind for expression. It is this: You cannot hope to secure International Peace by the disarmament of any one of the peoples of the world. I doubt if there is a single thinking American who would advocate, in present conditions, that the American people and the American Government should decide upon the policy of disarmament. Can't do it, my friends. To disarm to-day when the world is an armed camp outside, would mean for that country to be wiped off the face of the map. (Applause.) We can't do that, and I shall not even discuss general disarmament. It is not a question for discussion just now, but let me say this: We hope, by the great pressure of the public conscience of the American people, so to impress it upon the Government of the United States that it in turn will give most explicit instructions to the representatives of the next Hague Conference that, if they cannot agree upon general or gradual disarmament, at least that this constant burden of expansion and growth of armaments shall be arrested for all time to come. (Applause.) When men are engaged in running in a given direction, it is the most difficult task to expect them at one fell swoop to turn around and run back. If we can stop them running, the chances are that the new conscience aroused will
turn their attention in the other direction, and then they may retrace their steps. (Applause.)
The resolutions that have been presented and adopted at this meeting to-night, endorsing and ratifying the position taken by the American Federation of Labor, are a most gratifying sign. If you contemplate the causes for and the causes which lead to war, if you contemplate the results of grab and graft that are expected to result from war, the chances are that you will help to abolish war. (Applause.) The working men have to a considerable extent established, by their trade agreements in their organized labor movement, the principle of Peace, for these are nothing more than industrial treaties, industrial treaties of Peace. I grant you that in our comparatively unorganized condition we are not always capable of defending our position, but we have enunciated it as a principle, and no principle founded on truth or justice or right has ever been promulgated and contested for but what it has been finally crowned with victory. (Applause.) What we aim to accomplish by our meeting to-night here and the meetings elsewhere is to reach the judgment and the conscience of our people. We have no ulterior purpose to serve. We have no profit to gain; we have no human sacrifice that we ask upon the altar of our cause. There is nothing in all the demands which we make upon modern society that is not founded upon the best and the highest conception of human aspirations for love, for right, for justice, for humanity; and in that great cause, all of us may enlist in the hope that final and ultimate justice and righteousness and Peace shall prevail the world over, and recognize and establish for all time to come the universal brotherhood of man. (Great applause.)
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: The next and last speaker of this evening will be one who brings the message of Peace from a foreign land. Our speakers so far this evening have all been from our own country. The next speaker is a gentleman who has been identified with the International Peace Movement since its inception. I refer to Mr. William T. Stead, the editor of the London Review of Reviews. (Great applause.)
I have been requested to announce that Mr. Stead will speak
from this platform on Friday evening under the auspices of the People's Institute, I believe.
MR. SMITH: Yes.
MR. BUCHANAN: On what topic?
MR. SMITH: Mr. Stead will tell.
MR. STEAD: Mr. Chairman
A VOICE: You're all right, William!
I am all right. There is nothing the matter with me. (Great applause.) But you are not all right. (Renewed applause and laughter.) I must speak plain to you. I don't think you are a satisfactory audience at all. (Great applause and laughter.) I am ashamed of you. (Renewed laughter.) And I tell you why I am ashamed of you, because you seem to be perfectly ready to agree to absolutely contradictory doctrines from the speakers on this platform. When I came in, I heard Mr. Gompers declaring that disarmament was absolutely impossible, and criminal, unless we all disarmed together, and you cheered that. Then I heard Mr. Crapsey saying, That is not right, and you cheered that. (Renewed applause and laughter.) Now I do not think that is sensible. (Applause.) And you cheered that. (Renewed applause and laughter.)
Now I think there cannot be a greater mistake than to be too peaceful. It is because the peaceful people are so horribly peaceful that the warlike people get it all their own way. You remember that Archbishop Paley one time was told by a clergyman as follows: "My wife and I have been married for twenty-five years and we have never had a row." And Archbishop Paley said to him: "My dear sir, what an awfully dull life you must have had!" (Great laughter.)
I tell you another reason why I don't like you. (Great laughter.) At all the peace meetings I have been at since I came to New York there was no kick back from any of you. Now what I feel is that when you get close to a man, he ought in some way or another to indicate that he does not agree with you. Now, you don't ever say anything in America no matter what the speaker says. He may talk the greatest tommyrot in the
world (laughter), and you are all so polite you let him go on talking. (Laughter.) Now what you want to do in this world, when a fellow makes a fool of himself, is to tell him so; and if you find that I am making a fool of myself, why for God's sake tell me so and quick. (Applause and laughter.)
Now, I want you to understand, after having made these preliminary complimentary observations (laughter), which I hope will have the desired effect of inducing you to express your dissent with appropriate emphasis when you differ from me, I want to say one or two words to you, as representatives of American labor.
I bring to you a message from Mr. W. R. Cremer, one of the oldest workingmen members in Parliament. (Applause.) He has often been to America. He was the man who first originated the idea of the Interparliamentary Union, and he received the Nobel prize and immediately gave it away for the purpose of promoting peace and arbitration, although he was only a working man. (Applause.) He desires me to say to you that he sends a message of heartfelt sympathy, and regrets very much that he cannot be here to speak to you himself. He would have been very glad to have been here, but Parliament is in session and he is an old man, going on eighty, but in heart and soul he is with you to-day. So much for the message with which I am charged. Now, I want to say a few practical things. We have heard a great deal this evening of ideas that deal with war in the abstract, and peace in the abstract, and various other things. That part of the subject has been so very well and fully dealt with, you will perhaps pardon me if I venture to say one or two practical things.
We in England look to you in America to redeem your character and reputation, which have been very much battered of late years. (Laughter and applause.) There was a time, when I was a boy, when we looked to the great Republic of the West as the home of freedom, as the place where every working man had a fair chance to get to the top, where there were no great fortunes, where there were no peers, where there was no established Church-a land which was the home of liberty, the home of opportunity, the place for the laboring men of the world. Well, of late years that is not the kind of idea we have had of America. We may be mistaken, but what we have in our
country as the idea of America is that you have developed bigger fortunes than anybody else in the world; and judging from the speeches which I have heard from the lips of Mr. Carnegie, there is no greater misfortune that can befall any man than to be a millionaire. (Laughter.) And the growth of these enormous fortunes has made it very difficult for the small man to get to the top. The equality of opportunity which we used to think belonged to you, seems to have dwindled away; and in place of the passionate enthusiasm for liberty and freedom which we used to identify with your people, your sympathy for liberty and freedom throughout the world, we hear a great deal about graft-curious word that! (Laughter.) A word which I will not attempt to translate into my ordinary English, for fear I might make a mistake. (Laughter.)
We hear a great deal concerning the extraordinary methods of getting rich, what may be called, I suppose, legalized highway robbery. (Great laughter and applause.) In short, the fine old American ideal, in which I was brought up when I was a boy, has been very largely overclouded and eclipsed by things which I do not think you like any better than we do, but still there is in the American heart and in the American brain a great belief in the common man, the ordinary man, the ordinary woman.
There is one thing, almost the only thing that I find in your country in which you preserve somewhat the old idea of democracy; and that is this, that your waiter and your shoeblack, and your barber and your chambermaid all shake hands with you and talk to you as if you were all Dukes and Counts and Countesses together. (Laughter.) That is very pleasant to me, for it is a very fine lingering relic of the traditions of the good old time. But I must say that when many Americans come over to our country, they drop that good tradition very precious short and are much more exclusive than the English aristocracy itself. (Laughter and applause.)
What we want to do and what I am over here largely to ask you to do, is to ascertain whether it is possible for the American enthusiasm, the distinctly American democratic enthusiasm that believes in equality of opportunity, that believes in democratic government, that is not run entirely by bosses and governed by graft, which believes that all men are equal and