It is no impossible dream to build up a civilization in which morality, ethical development, and a true feeling of brotherhood shall all alike be divorced from false sentimentality, and from the rancorous and evil passions which, curiously enough, so often accompany professions of sentimental attachment to the rights of man; in which a high material development in the things of the body shall be achieved without subordination of the things of the soul; in which there shall be a genuine desire for peace and justice without loss of those virile qualities without which no love of peace or justice shall avail any race; in which the fullest development of scientific research, the great distinguishing feature of our present civilization, shall yet not imply a belief that intellect can ever take the place of character—for, from the standpoint of the nation as of the individual, it is character that is the one vital possession.
Finally, this world movement of civilization, this movement which is now felt throbbing in every corner of the globe, should bind the nations of the world together while yet leaving unimpaired that love of country in the individual citizen which in the present stage of the world’s progress is essential to the world’s well-being. You, my hearers, and I who speak to you, belong to different nations. Under modern conditions the books we read, the news sent by telegraph to our newspapers, the strangers we meet, half of the things we hear and do each day, all tend to bring us into touch with other peoples. Each people can do justice to itself only if it does justice to others; but each people can do its part in the world movement for all only if it first does its duty within its own household. The good citizen must be a good citizen of his own country first before he can with advantage be a citizen of the world at large. I wish you well. I believe in you and your future. I admire and wonder at the extraordinary greatness and variety of your achievements in so many and such widely different fields; and my admiration and regard are all the greater, and not the less, because I am so profound a believer in the institutions and the people of my own land.
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An Address at the Cambridge Union, May 26, 1910
Mr. President and gentlemen, it is a very great pleasure for me to be here to-day and to address you and to wear what the Secretary has called the gilded trappings which show that I am one of the youngest living graduates of Cambridge. Something in the nature of a tract was handed to me before I came up here. It was an issue of the Gownsman [holding up, amid laughter, a copy of an undergraduate publication] with a poem portraying the poet’s natural anxiety lest I should preach at him. Allow me to interpose an anecdote taken from your own hunting field. A one-time Master of Foxhounds