« AnteriorContinuar »
sents the industrial portion of our country, so I do not know why you should add a name to your list of speakers, unless you feel that the list has not covered all of the great industries of the country. I am sure that I am not here to speak as a diplomat, for I have not always been diplomatic. (Laughter. Applause.) I hardly think I am here to speak for labor, although I have worked rather hard for several years. (Laughter.) I hardly think I am expected to speak as an educator, although I have been engaged in educational work-but with indifferent success. (Laughter.) I do not know why I am called to speak unless it is to represent the great agricultural section of the country. (Applause.)
I have several capacities in which I might speak. I might speak as a lawyer, although the statute of limitations has run against my profession. (Laughter.) I might speak as a politician who has at last secured the most permanent title that one can have in this country-the title of "Ex." (Laughter. Applause.) I might speak as a newspaper man, though in the presence of great editors of great dailies they might mis-spell the name of my little weekly newspaper. (Laughter.)
But if I speak as a farmer I can speak for a very large class of people, the largest individual class, and for those who, probably, more than any other class, bear the heaviest part of war's burdens and enjoy the least part of war's glories.
But I am not going to speak as the representative of any class. In the closing of this extraordinary assembly I desire rather to leave a thought that I believe to be an appropriate one for us to carry away with us. Upon the hearth of an English home the word "others" is inscribed, and the more I have thought of it the more it has grown upon me. The word "others" is an important word. It marks the boundary line between self and the world. Not until one has learned to know that there are others is he lifted out of himself and brought into vital contact with society. (Applause.) The knowledge of man's relations to his fellows is an important knowledge and unless I mistake the definition of progress, we may measure man's advancement by his conception of the meaning of the word "others." I do not expect that we shall reach the point where man will not think of himself. I believe we cannot improve upon the plans of the Almighty; and when the Creator made each one custodian of
himself, made each one the guardian of his own interests, He intended that we should care for our lives and for all that pertains to our lives.
But there are two kinds of selfishness-the selfishness of the man who would lift himself up upon the prostrate forms of others, and the selfishness of a man who would lift himself up by lifting up the level on which all stand. (Applause.) I do not expect selfishness to be eliminated from the human race. Aye, more than that, I believe that the highest form of selfishness, the broadest regard for one's self, is to be found in the obedience to the command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (Applause.) For only by the recognition of the rights of others are we sure that our own rights will be protected. We have been so linked together that no one can consider himself separate and apart from those about him. We know not at what moment our lives may touch in vital contact the lives of others. We know not how our selfishness may react upon ourselves, or how our generosity may return to bless us a thousandfold.
It is fortunate that we are thus made a part of an indissoluble whole, that we are all bound together by ties that we cannot break, and it is evidence of man's advancement that he plans beyond the day and takes into consideration those who live, not only without his home, but in other lands as well. The savage will not plant a tree, because he must wait for the fruit. He will shoot the bird, because he can see it fall. But civilized man lays to-day the foundations upon which future generations will build. (Applause.) And the best foundation that man can lay is the foundation that is laid in justice, for the government that rests upon justice is the only one that has promise of perpetuity. (Applause.)
Reference has been made to-night to the message that came to the world when Christ was born, "Peace on earth, good-will toward men." I recalled that passage a few years ago, when we were about to celebrate a Christmas, and then my thoughts ran back to the prophecy in the Old Testament, when, several hundred years before the coming of Christ, He was described as "The Prince of Peace." I went back to refresh my memory, and I found the prophecy as I had recalled it, but I found another verse that I had forgotten, and I will give you the substance of it for fear that some of you may be as "rusty" upon the passage
as I was. Just after the coming Messiah is described as the "Prince of Peace" it says: "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. . . . and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever." This is the foundation of
perpetual government. As a nation is just, it is strong; as injustice finds place in a nation's object, it becomes weak, and justice bids us recognize the claims of others upon us. And yet, my friends, after all, justice is rather a negative virtue than a positive one, and I am glad that there is in this world something warmer and more generous than justice. I am glad that brotherly love goes beyond justice, and I believe we are entering upon an era where brotherly love is to be more manifest than it has been in the past.
I am not stating an original proposition. I am not bidding you believe it upon my authority. Thirteen years ago a great. Frenchman, Dumas, said he thought he saw the beginning of a new era when mankind was to be seized with the passion of love, that we were to enter upon an era of brotherhood. And Tolstoy in Russia, two years later, quoted what Dumas said, and gave it his endorsement. I believe that Dumas was right. I believe that Tolstoy was right. And within the last few years I have seen more evidence than ever before of this new era of brotherhood.
Charles Wagner, the author of "The Simple Life," told me that he had sold more of his books in this country than in any other country, and I thought it was a compliment to our country, for "The Simple Life" is a protest against the materialism that makes man the servant of his possessions, and is an eloquent plea for the spiritual life that makes man mark out a career in keeping with the divine law and destiny. (Applause.) Peace is not only one of the fruits of this era of brotherhood, but, reacting upon society, Peace hastens the realization of brotherhood.
I have one suggestion that I want to make, that we shall lay the foundations for a permanent Peace. You have heard the suggestion of the distinguished educator from Harvard in regard to publicity between nations and the making of people better acquainted with each other. I believe with him. My friends, within the last two or three years, I have been impressed with
the belief that the best way this nation can protect itself from danger from without is to make people in other lands acquainted with our country, acquainted with our people and acquainted with our institutions. (Applause.) And if we would spend ten per cent. of the amount we spend on warships and on navies, in establishing colleges here to which we would invite the youth of all the lands of the world, representatives to be educated here at our expense, and send them back with our ideals and a love of our people, we would protect our nation from attack more surely than by all the "Dreadnoughts" that we could put upon the waters. (Great applause and cries of "Good! Good!")
Let me therefore suggest that the purpose of this meeting is not only to present the advantages of Peace, but to present means and methods by which Peace can be promoted. One of the first things is the substitution of ideals of Peace for ideals of war. One of the methods is to teach that the way to overcome evil is not with force but to substitute something better for it. And, my friends, we will find no better authority than we will find in the Good Book, which says: "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Tell me that you can only overcome evil with force! I say to you, if we can convince the world of our good intentions, if we can convince the world of our attachment to the world, if we can convince the world of our altruism, we will make friends of the other nations. I believe to-day America has more altruism in it than any other country in the world. I believe that to-day our nation is doing more in a disinterested way for mankind than any other nation in the world. And if any of you feel that we are to make our impress through commerce or through armies or navies, I reply to you that the people whom this nation sends abroad without noise, without celebration, who separate themselves from their friends and bury themselves in dark continents, because their hearts are full of love for humankind, these people who carry high ideals and open schools, are doing more for the world than we will ever do by showing new methods of killing people or new methods of increasing the destructiveness of a single man's arm. (Applause.)
And there is this, my friends, that the money we spend in this way not only helps those on whom we spend it, but it helps those who spend it also. For, unless every philosopher who has spoken upon the basis of Christian morality is at fault, every